By Richard Watson
REDEMPTION-DEATH OF CHRIST PROPITIATORY.
THESE points, then, being so fully established, that sin is neither forgiven by the mere prerogative of God, nor upon the account of mere repentance in man, we proceed to inquire into the Scripture account of the real consideration on which the execution of the penalty of transgression is delayed, and the offer of forgiveness is made to offender.
To the statements of the New Testament we shall first direct our attention, and then point out that harmony of doctrine on this subject which pervades the whole Scriptures, and makes both the Old and New Testament give their agreeing testimony to that one method of love wisdom, arid justice, by which a merciful God justifies the ungodly.
1. The first thing which strikes every attentive, and, indeed, every cursory reader of time New Testament, must be, that the pardon of our sin, and our entire salvation, is ascribed to the death of Christ. We do not, now, inquire in what sense his death availed to these great results but we, at present, only state that, in some sense, our salvation is expressly and emphatically connected with that event. "I lay down my life for the sheep." "He gave himself for us." He died, "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." "'While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgive ness of our sins." "he gave his life a ransom for many." "We who were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood ;" with innumerable other passages, in which, with equal emphasis, time salvation of man is connected with the death of Christ.
This is so undeniable, that it is, to a certain extent, recognized in the two great schemes opposed to that which has been received generally by the Church of Christ, which in all ages has proclaimed that the death of Christ was an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of men, and necessary to make time exercise of pardon consistent with the essential righteousness of God, and with his righteous government. The Socithan scheme admits that the death of Christ was important to confirm his doctrine, and to lead to his resurrection, the crowning miracle by which its truth was demonstrated; and that we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, because "we are led, by the due consideration of Christ's death, and its consequences, to that repentance, which, under the merciful constitution of the Divine government, always obtains forgiveness." The second scheme, which is that of the modern Arians, goes farther. It represents the coming of Christ, whom they consider to be the most exalted of the creatures of God, into the world, and his labours and sufferings in behalf of men, as acts of the most disinterested and tender benevolence, in reward and honour of which he is allowed to bestow pardon upon his disciples, upon their sincere repentance, and to plead his interest with God, who delights to honour the generous conduct of his Son toward time human race. His voluntary sufferings and death for the sins of mankind, according to them, gave to his intercession with God great efficacy, and thus, by his mediation, sinners are reconciled to God. and raised to eternal life.
Far as even the latter of these theories falls below the sense of Scripture on this subject, yet both are, in this respect, important, that they concede that the death of Christ, as the means of human salvation, is made so prominent in the New Testament, that it cannot be left out of our consideration when the doctrine of man's salvation is treated of; and also, that this is a doctrine of the Holy Scriptures which must in some way or other, be accounted for and explained. The Socinian accounts for it by making the death of Christ the means by which repentance is produced in time heart of man, so as to constitute it morally fit flint he should he forgiven. The modern Arian accounts for it by connecting with this notion, that kind of merit in time death of Christ which arises from a generous and benevolent self devotion; and which, when pleaded by him in the way of mediation, God is pleased to honour by accepting repentance, when it is produced in the heart, and accompanied with purposes of amendment, in place of perfect obedience.
2. But the views given us of the death of Christ, by the writers of the New Testament, go much farther than these, because they represent the death of Christ as necessary to the salvation of men, a principle Which both the hypotheses just mentioned wholly exclude. The reason of forgiveness is placed by one in repentance merely, by the other, also, in time exercise of the right which God had to pardon, but which he chose to exercise in honour of the philanthropy of Jesus Christ. Both make the death of Christ, though in a different way and in a very subordinate sense, the means of obtaining pardon, because it is a means of bringing men into a state in which they are fit objects for thee exercise of an act of grace; but the Scripture doctrine is, that the death of Christ is not the meritorious means, but the meritorious cause of tine exercise of forgiveness: and repentance but one of the instrumental means of actually obtaining it; and, in consistency with this view, they speak of the death of Christ, not as one of many means, by which the same end might have been accomplished; but as, in the strictest sense, necessary to man's salvation.
This, has, indeed, been considered, even by some divines professing orthodoxy, to be a bold position, but, as we shall see, with little consistency on their part. It follows, of course, from the Socinian and Arian hypotheses, that if our Lord were a man, or an angelic creature; and if lie were rather the mere messenger of a mercy which might be exercised on prerogative, than the procuring cause of it; any other creature beside himself might have conveyed the message of this mercy; might have exhibited a generous devotion in our behalf; and been an effectual instrument to bring men to that repentance which would prepare them to receive it. But when it is admitted, that Christ was the Divine Son of God; that he was "God manifest in thee flesh;" that the forgiveness of sin required a satisfaction to Divine justice of so noble and infinitely exalted a kind as that which was offered by the sufferings and death of the incarnate Deity, even from such premises alone it would seem necessarily to follow that, but for the interposition of Christ, sin could not have been forgiven, consistently with a perfectly righteous government, and, therefore, not forgiven at all, unless a sacrifice of equal merit, which supposes a being of equal glory and dignity as its subject, could have been found. If no such being existed out of the Godhead, then human hope rested solely on the voluntary incarnation of the Son of GOD; and the overwhelming fact and mystery of his becoming flesh, in order to suffer for us, itself shows, that the case to be remedied was one of a character absolutely extreme, and, therefore, not otherwise remediable. If inferior means had been sufficient, then more was done by the Father, when he delivered up his Son for us, than was necessary, a conclusion of an impious character; and if the greatest possible gift was bestowed, then nothing less could have been effectual, and this was necessary to human salvation. Every believer in the Divinity of Christ us bound to this conclusion.
This matter is, however, put beyond all reasonable question by the testimony of Scripture. "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead." Here a necessity for the death of Christ is plainly expressed. If it be said, that the necessity was the fulfilment of what "had been written" in the prophets concerning the sufferings of Messiah, it is to be remembered, that what was predicted on this subject by the prophets arose out of a previous appointment of God, in whose eternal counsel Christ had been designated as the Redeemer of man; and that the sole end and reason of the death of p Christ could not, therefore, be the mere fulfilment of the prophecies respecting him. The verse which follows abundantly proves this-
"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name," Luke xxiv, 47. His death was not only necessary for the accomplishment of prophecy; but for the publication of " repentance and remission of sins in his name," both of which, therefore, depended upon it. It was God's purpose to offer forgiveness to man, before the prophets issued their predictions; it was his purpose to do this in "his name," on account of, and in consideration of his dying for them: this was predicted; but the necessity of the death of Christ rested on this previous appointment to which the prophecies corresponded. In Matthew xvi, 21, the same sentiment is expressed without any reference to the fulfillment of prophecy. "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." The answer, too, of our Lord to Peter, who, upon this declaration, said," Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee," is remarkable. "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence to me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." These words plainly imply, that for Christ to suffer and die, and in this manner, and not according to the carnal and human views of Peter, to accomplish the purpose of his coming into the world, was "of God;" it was his purpose, his appointment. This is not language to be used as to a martyr dying to prove his sincerity; for death, in such cases, is lather permitted than purposed and appointed, and it would be to adopt language never applied to such cases in the Holy Scriptures, to say that the sufferings and death of martyrs are "of GOD." The necessity of Christ's death, then, rested on Divine appointment, and that on the necessity of the case; and if he "must" die, in order that we might live, then we live only in consequence of his death.
'The same view is conveyed by a strongly figurative expression in John xii, 23, 24: "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say Unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." From which it inevitably follows, that the death of Christ was as necessary to human salvation as the vegetable death of the seed of corn to the production of the harvest; necessary, therefore, in this sense, that one could not take place without the other. But for this he would have remained "alone," and have brought no "Sons to glory."
In a word, all those passages of Scripture which speak of our salvation from death and misery by the sufferings of Christ, and call upon Our gratitude on this account, are founded upon the same doctrine. These are too numerous to be cited, and are sufficiently familiar. "We have redemption through his blood ;" "we are saved from wrath through him," &c. Such forms of speech are continually occurring, and the highest ascriptions of praise are given to the Father and to the Son on this account. But, most clearly, they all suppose that "wrath" and' "death," but for this interposition of the passion of Christ on our account, would have been the doom of sinning men. They contain not the most distant intimation, that had not he come into the world "to seek and to save them that were lost," they would have been saved by any other means; that had not he, the good Shepherd, laid down his life for the sheep, they would have been brought by some other process into the heavenly fold. The very emphasis of the expression "lost," implies a desperate case; for as lost they could not have been described, if pardon had been offered them on mere repentance; and if the death of Christ had been one only of many means, through some of which that disposition in God to forgive offenders must have operated, which is the doctrine of all who set up the goodness of the Divine government against its justice. In that case, mankind could not have been in a hopeless state, independent of Christ's redemption, the view which is uniformly taken of their case in Scripture, where the death of Christ is exhibited, not as one expedient of many, but as the only hope of the guilty.
3. The Scriptures, in speaking of the death of Christ, inform us that he died "FOR US," that is, in our room and stead. With this representation neither of the hypotheses to which we have adverted, as attempting to account for the importance attached to the death of our Lord in the New Testament, agrees, and, therefore, both of them fall far below the whole truth of the case. The Socinian scheme makes the death of Christ only an incidental benefit, as sealing the truth of his doctrine, and setting an example of eminent passive virtue. In this sense, indeed, they acknowledge that he died "for" men, because in this indirect manner they derive the benefit of instruction from his death, and because some of the motives to virtue are placed in a stronger light. The modern Arian scheme, sometimes called the intercession hypothesis, acknowledges that he acquired, by his disinterested and generous sufferings, the highest degree of virtue, and a powerful interest with God, by which his intercession, on behalf of penitent offenders, is honoured by an exercise of higher mercy than would otherwise have taken place; but it by no means follows, from this, that repentance might not otherwise have taken place, and mercy have been otherwise exercised. According to this view, then, Christ died for the benefit, indeed, of men, somewhat more directly than on the Socinian scheme; but he did not die for them in the sense of the Scriptures, that is, in their room and stead; his death was not vicarious, and it is not, on that account, directly, that the guilty are absolved from condemnation.
To prove that our Lord died for men, in the sense of dying in their stead, the testimony of the sacred writers must, however, be adduced, and it is equally abundant and explicit. St. Peter says he died, "the just for the unjust," that "he suffered for us." St. Paul that "he died for all," that "he tasted death for every man," that he died "for the ungodly," that "he gave himself a ransom for all," and our Lord him self declares "that he gave himself a ransom for many." To show, however, that this phrase means no more than a final cause, and that the only notion intended to be conveyed is, that Christ died for our benefit, it is argued, by the objectors, that the Greek prepositions used in the above quotations uper, and anti, do not always signify substitution; but are sometimes to be rendered "on account of," as when Christ is said to have "suffered for our sins," which cannot be rendered instead of our sins. All this may, indeed, be granted; but then it is ascertain, that these prepositions do often signify substitution; and that the Greeks, by these forms of expression, were wont to express a vicarious death, is abundantly proved by the examples given by Raphelius, on Romans v, S. Nor are instances wanting of texts in which these particles can only be interpreted when taken in the sense of "instead of," and in "the place of." So in the speech of Caiaphas, "it is expedient that one man should die, uper, for the people, and that the whole nation perish not;" he plainly declares, that either Christ or the nation must perish; and that by putting the former to death, he would die instead of the nation. In Romans v, 6-8, the sense in which Christ "died for us," is indubitably fixed by the context. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us ;" on which passage Doddridge has observed, "one can hardly imagine any one would die for a good man, unless it were to redeem his life by giving up his own." In this sense also, anti is used by the LXX, 2 Sam. xviii, 33, where David says concerning Absalom, "would to God I had died for thee," (anti sou.) Here he could mean nothing else but to wish that he bad died in Absalom's stead. In the sense of "in the room or stead of," anti is also used in many places of the New Testament; as, "Archelaus did reign in Judea (anti) in the room of his father Herod:" "if he ask a fish, will he (anti) for a fish, in place or instead of a fish, give him a serpent." When, therefore, the same preposition is used, Mark x, 45, "The Son of man came to give his life a ransom for (anti) many," there Can Surely be no reason drawn from the meaning of the particle itself to prevent its being so understood. That it may be so taken is certain, for this is a sense of the preposition constantly occurring; and if that sense is rejected and another chosen, the reason must be brought from the contrariety of the doctrine which it conveys to some other; whereas not one passage is even pretended to be produced, which denies that Christ did thus die in the stead of the ungodly, and give his life a ransom in the place or stead of the lives of many. The particles uper and anti have other senses: this is not denied; but, as Bishop Stillingfleet has observed, "a substitution could not be more properly expressed than it is in Scripture by them."
The force of this has, at all times, been felt by the Socinians, and has rendered it necessary for them to resort to subterfuges. Socinus acknowledges, and after him Creilius, that, "when redemption is spoken of, anti implies commutation," but they attempt to escape, by considering both the redemption and the commutation metaphorical. Dr. Priestley, too, admits the probability of the interpretation of Christ's dying for us, being to die instead of us, and then contends that he did this consequentially and not directly so, "as a substitute for us; for if, in consequence of Christ's not having been sent to instruct and reform the world, mankind had continued unreformed, and if the necessary con. sequence of Christ's coming was his death, by whatever means, and in whatever manner it was brought about; it is plain that there was, in fact, no other alternative but his death or ours." (History of Corruptions, &c.) Thus, under the force of the doctrine of the New Testament, that Christ died in our stead, he admits the absolute necessity of the death of Christ, in order to human salvation, contrary to all the principles he elsewhere lays down, and in refutation of his own objections and those of his followers to the orthodox view of the death of our Saviour as being the only means by which mercy could be dispensed to mankind. But that Christ died for us directly as a substitute, which is still the point denied, is to be fully proved from those scriptures, in which he is said to have borne the punishment due to our offences; and this being established, it puts an entire end to all quibbling on the import of the Greek prepositions.
To prove this, the passages of Holy Writ are exceedingly numerous; but it will be more satisfactory to select a few, and point out their force, than to give a long list of citations.
Grotius (De Satisfactione,) thus clearly proves that the Scriptures represent our sins as the impulsive cause of the death of Christ:--
"Another cause which moved God was our sins, which deserve punishment. Christ was delivered for our offences, Rom. iv, 25. Here the apostle uses the preposition dia with the accusative case, which with all Greek authors, sacred and profane, is tine most usual manner of expressing an impulsive cause. For instance, dia panta, 'because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disbodience,' Eph. v, 6. Indeed, whenever the expression, because of sins, is coupled with the mention of sufferings, it never admits of any other interpretation. 'I will chastise you seven times because of your sins,' Lev. xxvi, 28. 'Because of these abominations the Lord God cast them out from his sight,' Deut. xviii, 12. So it is used in many other places of the sacred writings, and nowhere in a different sense. The expression, for sins, is also evidently of the same force, whenever it is connected with sufferings, as in the example following: 'Christ died for our sins,' 1 Cor. xv, 3. 'Christ hath once suffered for sins,' 1 Peter iii, 18. 'Christ gave himself for our sins,' Gal. i, 4. 'Christ offered one sacrifice for sins,' Heb. x, 12. In all which places we have either uper or peri with the genitive case. But Socinus maintains, that in all these places a final and not an impulsive cause is intended. He even goes so far as to assert, that the Latin pro and the Greek uper never denote an impulsive, but always a final cause. Many examples prove the latter assertion to be untrue. For both uper and peri are used to signify no less an impulsive than a final cause. The Gentiles are said to praise God uper elew~ for his mercy, Rom. xv, 9. Paul says thanks are given uper hmwn for us, Eph. i, 16. And uper pantwn for all; Eph. v, 20. 'We pray you,' uper cristou, for Christ, 2 Cor. v, 20. 'Great is my glorying for you, uper umwn, 2 Cor. vii, 4, ix, 2, and xii, 5. 'Distresses (uper cristh) for Christ,' 2 Cor. xii, 10. 'I thank God (uper umwn) for you,' 1 Cor. i. 4. 'God shall reprove all the ungodly (peri pantwn epywv asebeia~) for all their works of ungodliness,' Jude 15. In the same manner, the Latins say, to give or render thanks (pro beneflciis) for benefits, as often in Cicero. He also says, 'to take vengeance (pro injuriis) for inju ries;' 'to suffer punishment (pro magnitudine sceleris) for the greatness of a crime;' to fear torments (pro maleficiis) for evil deeds. Plautus, 'to chastise (pro commerita noxia) for faults which deserve it.' And Terence, 'to take vengeance (pro dictis et factis) for words and deeds.'
Certainly, in all these places, pro does not signify a final, but an impulsive cause. So, when Christ is said to have suffered and died for sins, the subject will not allow us, as Socinus wishes, to understand a final cause. Hence, also, as the Hebrew particle it denotes an antecedent or impulsive cause, (see Psalm xxxviii, 9, and many other places,) the words of Isaiah liii, cannot be better translated, or more agreeably with other scriptures, than He was wounded on account of our transgressions; he was bruised on account of our iniquities. And what can Romans vi, 10, th amartia apeqanen, denote, but that he died on account of sin?"
Crellius, who attempted an answer to Grotius, at length acknowledges sin to have been an impulsive cause of the death of Christ; but neutralizes the admission by sophistry, on which Bishop Stillingfleet has well observed, that we understand not an impulsive cause in so remote a sense, as though our sins were an occasion of Christ's dying, so that his death was one argument among many others, to believe his doctrine, the belief of which would cause men to leave their sins; but we contend for a nearer and more proper sense, that the death of Christ was Primarily intended for the expiation of sins, with respect to God, and not to us, and that our sins, as an impulsive cause, are to be considered as so displeasing to God, that it was necessary, for the vindication of honour and the deterring the world from sin, that no less a sacrifice of atonement should be offered than the blood of the Son of GOD. The sufferings of Christ, when considered with respect to our sins, are to be considered as a punishment; when with respect to God, as being designed to expiate them as a sacrifice of atonement.
It is thus that Christ is said to bear our sins. "Who his ownself hare our sins in his own body on the tree," 1 Peter ii, 24, where the apostle evidently quotes from Isaiah liii. "He shall bear their iniquities." "He bore the sin of many." The same expression is used by St. Paul, Heb. ix, 28, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." Now to bear sin is, in time language of Scripture, to bear the punishment of sin, Levit. xxii, 9; Ezekiel xviii, 20, and the use of the compound verb anaferw, by both apostles, is worthy of notice. St. Peter "might have said simply hnegke, he bore; but wishing at the same time to signify his being lifted up on the cross, he said anhnegke, he bore up, meaning, he bore by going up to the cross." (Grotius.) St. Paul, too, uses the same verb with reference to the Levitical sacrifices, which were carried to an elevated altar; and to the sacrifice of Christ. Socinus and his followers cannot deny that to bear sin, in Scripture generally, signifies to bear the punishment of sin; but, availing themselves of the very force of the compound verb anaferw, just pointed out, they interpret the passage in St. Peter to signify the bearing up, that is, the hearing or carrying away of our sins, which, according to them, may be effected in many other ways than by a vicarious sacrifice. To this, Grotius replies, "The particle ana will not admit of such a sense, nor is the word ever so used by any Greek writer. In the New Testament it never occurs in such a meaning." It is also decisive as to the sense in which St. Peter uses the phrase to bear sin, that he quotes from isa. liii, 11, "For he shall bear their iniquities," where the Hebrew word, by the confession of all, is never used for taking away, but for bearing a burden, and is employed to express the punishment of sin, as in La, mentations v, 7, "Our fathers have sinned, and are not, and we have borne their iniquities."
Similar to this expression of bearing sins, and equally impracticable to the criticism of the Socinians, is the declaration of Isaiah in the same chapter, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;" and then to show in what sense he was wounded and: bruised for our transgressions, be adds, "the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Now, chastisement is the punishment of a fault; but the suffering person, of whom the prophet speaks, is declared by him to be wholly free from transgression; to be perfectly and emphatically innocent. This prophecy is applied to Christ by the apostles, whose constant doctrine is the entire immaculateness of their Master and Lord. If chastisement, therefore, was laid upon Christ, it could not be on account of faults of his own; his sufferings were time chastisement of our faults, the price of our peace, and his "stripes," another punitive expression, were borne by him for our "healing." The only course which Socinus and his followers have taken, to endeavour to escape the force of this passage, is to render the word not chastisement, but affliction; in answer to which, Grotius and subsequent critics have abundantly proved that it is used not to signify affliction of any kind; but that which has the nature of punishment. These passages, therefore, prove a substition, a suffering in our stead. The chastisement of offences was laid upon him, in order to our peace; and the offences were ours, since they could not be his "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth."
The same view is presented to us under another, and even still more forcible phrase, in the 6th and 7th verses of the same chapter. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him [literally, hath made to meet on him] the iniquity of us all; he was oppressed and he was afflicted." Bishop Lowth translates this passage, "and the Lord bath made to light upon him the iniquity of us all; it was exacted, and he was made answerable." In a similar manner, several former critics, (Vide Poli synop.,) "he put or fixed together upon him the iniquity of us all; it was exacted, and he was afflicted." This sense is fully established by Grotius against Socinus, and by Bishop Stillingfleet against Crellius, and thus the passage is obviously incapable of explanation, except by allowing the sufferings and death of our Lord to be vicarious. Our iniquities, that is, according to the Hebrew mode of speaking, their punishment, are made to meet upon him; they are fixed together and laid upon him; the penalty is exacted from him, though he himself had incurred no penalty personally, and, therefore, it was in consequence of that vicarious exaction that he was "afflicted," was "made answerable," and, voluntarily submitting, "he opened not his mouth."
In 2 Cor. v, 21, the apostle uses almost the same language. "For he hath made him to be sin [a sin offering] for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in human." The Socinian Improved Version has a note on this passage so obscure that the Point is evidently given up in despair. Socinus before had attempted an elusive interpretation, which requires scarcely an effort to refute. By Christ's being made "sin," he would understand being esteemed a sinner by men. But, as Grotians observes, (De Satisfactions,) neither is the Greek word, translated sin, nor the Hebrew word, answering to it, ever taken in such a sense. Beside, the apostle has attributed this act to God: it was he who made him to be sin; but he certainly did not cause the Jews and others to esteem Christ a wicked man. On the contrary, by a voice from heaven, and by miracles, he did all that was proper to prove to all men his innocence. Farther, St. Paul places "sin" and "righteousness" in opposition to each other-" we are made the righteousness of GOD," that is, are justified and freed from Divine punishment; but, in order to this, Christ was "made sin," or bore our punishment. There is also another antithesis in the apostle's words- God made him who knew no sin, and consequently deserved no punishment, to be sin; that is, it pleased him that he should be punished; but Christ was innocent, not only according to human laws, but according to the law of GOD; the antithesis, therefore, requires us to understand, that he bore the penalty of that law, and that he bore it in our stead.
How explicitly the death of Christ is represented in the New Testament as penal, which it could not be in any other way than by his taking our place, and suffering in our stead, is manifest also from Gal. iii, 18, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse [an execration] for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." The passage in Moses, to which St. Paul refers, is Deut. xxi, 22, 23: "If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and be put to death, and they hang him on a tree; his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day, for he that is hanged is accursed of God, that thy land be not defiled." This infamy was only inflicted upon great offenders, and was designed to show the light in which the person, thus exposed, was viewed by GOD,-he was a curse or execration. On this the remarks of Grotius are most forcible and conclusive :-" Socinus says, that to be an execration means to be under the punishment of execration, which is true. For katara every where denotes punishment proceeding from the sanction of law, 2 Peter ii, 14; Mark xxv, 41. Socinus also admits, that the cross of Christ was this curse; his cross, therefore, had the nature of punishment, which is what we maintain. Perhaps Socinus allows that the cross of Christ was a punishment, because Pilate, as a judge, inflicted it; but this does not come up to the intention of the apostle; for, in order to prove that Christ was made obnoxious to punishment, he cites Moses, who expressly asserts, that whoever hangs on a tree, according to the Divine law, is 'accursed of God,'-consequently, in the words of the apostle, who cites this place of Moses, and refers it to Christ, we must supply the same circumstance, 'accursed of God,' as if he had said Christ was made accursed of God, or obnoxious to the highest and most ignominious punishment 'for us, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles,' &c. For when the apostles speak of the sufferings of Christ in reference to our good, they do not regard the acts of men in them, but the act of GOD." (De Satisfactione.)
4. We are carried still farther into the real nature and design of the death of Christ, by those passages of Holy Scripture which connect with it propitiation, atonement, reconciliation, and the making peace between God and man; and the more attentively these are considered, the more unfounded will the Socinian notion appear, which represents the death of Christ as, indirectly only, a benefit to us, and as saving us from our sins and their punishment only as it is a motive to repentance and virtue.
To propitiate is to appease, to atone, to turn away the wrath of an offended person. In the case before as the wrath turned away is the wrath of GOD; the person making the propitiation is Christ; the propitiating offering or sacrifice is his blood. All this is expressed, in most explicit terms, in the following passages: 1 John ii, 2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins." 1 John iv, 10, "Herein is love, not that we loved GOD; but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins," Rom. iii, 25, "Whom GOD hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." The word used in the two former passages is ilasmo~; in the last ilasthrion. Both are from the verb ilaskw, so often used by Greek writers to express the action of a person, who, in some appointed way, turned away the wrath of a deity; and, therefore, cannot bear the sense which Socinus would put upon it,-the destruction of sin. This is not supported by a single example: with all Greek authorities, whether poets, historians, or others, the word means to popritiate, and is, for the most part, construed with an accusative case, designating the person whose displeasure is averted. (Grotius De Satisfactione.) As this could not be denied, Crellius comes to the aid of Socinus, and contends that the sense of this word was not to be taken from its common use in the Greek tongue; but from the Hellenistic use of it, namely, its use in the Greek of the New Testament, the LXX. and the Apocrypha. But this will not serve him; for, both by the LXX and in the Apocrypha it is used in the same sense as in the Greek classic writers. Ezekiel xliv, 27, "He shall offer his sin offering, (ilasmon,) saith the Lord GOD ;" Ezekiel xlv, 19," And the priest shall take of blood of the sin offering, exilasme." Num. v, 8, "The rain of the atonement," krio~ th ilasmh; to which may be added, out of the Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees iii, 33, "Now as the high priest was making an atonement," ilasmon. The propitiatory sense of the word ilasmon~ being thus fixed, the modern Socinians have conceded, in their note on John ii, 2, in their Improved Version, that it means "the pacifying of an offended party;" but they subjoin that Christ is a propitiation, because "by his Gospel he brings sinners to repentance, and thus averts the Divine displeasure.' The concession is important; and the comment cannot weaken it, because of its absurdity; for, in that interpretation of propitiation, Moses, or any of the apostles, or any minister of the Gospel now who succeeds in bringing sinners to repentance, is as truly a propitiation for sin as Christ himself. On Rom. iii, 25, how ever, the authors of the Improved Version continue to follow their master Socinus, and translate the passage, "whom God hath set forth a propitiation, through faith in his blood." "whom God hath set forth as a mercy scat, in his own blood;" and lay great stress upon this rendering, as removing "that countenance to the doctrine of atonement by vicarious sufferings," which the common translation affords. The word ilasthxion is used in the Septuagint version, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, to express the mercy seat or covering of the ark. But so little is to be gained by taking it in this sense in this passage, that this rendering is adopted by several orthodox commentators as expressing, by a figure, or rather by supplying a type to the antitype, in a very emphatic manner, the doctrine of our Lord's atonement. The mercy seat was so called, because, under the Old Testament, it was the place where the high priest, on time feast of expiation, sprinkled the blood of the sin offerings, in order to make an atonement for himself and the whole congregation; and, since GOD accepted the offering which was then made, it is, for this reason, accounted the medium through which God showed himself propitious to the people. With reference to this, Jesus Christ may be called a mercy seat, as being the person in or through whom GOD shows himself propitious to mankind. And as, under the law, God was propitious to those who came to him by appearing before his mercy seat with the blood of their sin offerings; so, under the Gospel dispensation, he is propitious to those who come unto him by Jesus Christ, through faith in that blood which is elsewhere sailed "the blood of sprinkling," which he shed for the remission of sins. Some able critics have, however, argued, from the force of the context, that the word ought to be taken actively, and not merely declaratively; not as "a propitiatory," but as a "propitiation," which, says Grotius, "is shown by the mention which is afterward made of blood, to which the power of propitiation is ascribed." Others supply Quma, or iereion, and render it expiatory sacrifice. (Vide Eisner Obs. Schleusner sub voce) But, whichever of these renderings be adopted, lie same doctrine is held forth to us. The covering of the ark was rendered a propitiatory only by the blood of the victims sprinkled before and upon it; and when the apostle says, that God hath set forth Jesus Christ to be a propitiatory, be immediately adds, leaving the ceremonies of the temple in his view, "through faith in his blood." The text, there., fore, contains no exhibition of any means of obtaining mercy but through the blood of sacrifice, according to the rule laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "without shedding of blood there is no remission ;" and is in strict accordance with Ephesians i, 7, "We have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins." It is only by his blood that Christ himself reconciles us to God.
Unable, then, as they who deny the vicarious nature of the suffering of Christ, are to evade the testimony of the above passages which speak of our Lord as a propitiation, what is their next resource? They deny the existence of wrath in God, in the hope of proving that propitiation, in a proper sense, cannot be the doctrine of Scripture, whatever may be the force of the mere terms which the sacred writers employ. In order to give plausibility to their statement, they pervert and caricature the opinion of the orthodox, arid argue as though it formed a part of the doctrine of Christ's propitiation and oblation for sin, that God is naturally an implacable and vengeful being, only made placable and disposed to show mercy by satisfaction being made to his displeasure through our Lord's sufferings and death. This is as contrary to Scripture as it is to the opinions of all sober persons who hold the doctrine of Christ's atonement. God is love; but it is not necessary in order to support this truth, to assume that he is nothing else. He has, as we have seen, other attributes, which harmonize with this and with each other, though assuredly that harmony cannot be exhibited by any who deny the propitiation for sin made by the death of Christ. Their system, therefore, obliges them to deny the existence of some of the attributes of God, or to explain them away.
It is sufficient to show that there is not only no implacability in God, but a most tender and placable affection toward the sinning human race itself, that the Son of God, by whom the propitiation was made, was the free gift of the Father to us. This is the most eminent proof of his love, that for our sakes, and that mercy might be extended to us, "he spared not his own Son; but delivered him up freely for us all." Thus he is the fountain and first moving cause of that scheme of recovery and salvation, which the incarnation and death of our Lord brought into full and efficient operation. The question, indeed, is not whether God is love, or whether he is of a placable nature; in that we are agreed; but it is, whether GOD is holy and just; whether we, his creatures, are under law or not; whether this law has any penalty, and whether GOD, in his rectoral character, is bound to execute and uphold that law. These are points which have already been established, and as the justice of God is punitive, (for if it is not punitive, his laws are a dead letter,) then is there wrath in God; then is God angry with the wicked; then is man, as a sinner, obnoxious to this anger; and so a propitiation becomes necessary to turn it away from him. Nor are these terms unscriptureal; they are used in the New Testament as emphatically as ifl the Old, though in a special sense, a revelation of the mercy of God to man. John the Baptist declares that, if any man believeth not on the Son of God, "the wrath of God abideth upon him." St. Paul declares, that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all undgodliness and unrighteousness of men." The day of judgment is with reference to the ungodly, said to be "the day of wrath ." God is called "a consuming fire;" and as such, is the object of " reverence and godly fear." Nor is this his displeasure light, and the consequences of it a trifling and temporary inconvenience. When we only regard the consequences which have followed sin in society, from the earliest ages, and in every part of the world, and add to these the many direct and fearful inflictions of punishment which have proceeded from the "Judge of the whole earth," to use the language of Scripture, "our flesh may well tremble because of his judgments." But when we look at the future state of the wicked, as it is represented in Scripture, though expressed generally, and surrounded as it is with the mystery of a world, and a condition of being, unknown to us in the present state, all evils which history has crowded into the lot of man appear insignificant in comparison of banishment from God-separation from the good-public condemnation-torment of spirit-" weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth"-" everlasting destruction"-" everlasting fire." Let men talk ever so much, and eloquently, of the pure benevolence of God, they cannot abolish the facts recorded in the history of human suffering in this world as the effect of transgression; nor can they dis. charge these fearful communications from the pages of the book of GOD. They cannot be criticised away; and if it is "Jesus who saves us from this wrath to come," that is, from those effects of the wrath of God which are to come, then, but for him, we should have been liable to them. That principle in God, from which such effects follow, the Scriptures call wrath; and they who deny the existence of wrath in God, deny, therefore, the Scriptures.
It by no means follows, however, that those who thus bow to inspired authority, must interpret wrath to be a passion in God; or that, though we conclude the awful attribute of his justice to require satisfaction, in order to the forgiveness of the guilty, we afford reason to any to charge us with attributing vengeful affections to the Divine Being. "Our adversaries," says Bishop Stillingfleet, "first make opinions for us, and then show that they are unreasonable. They first suppose that anger in God is to be considered as a passion, and that passion a desire of revenge, and then tell us, that if we do not prove that this desire of revenge can be satisfied by the sufferings of Christ, then we can never prove the doctrine of satisfaction to be true; whereas we do not mean, by God's anger, any such passion, but the just declaration of God's will to punish, upon our provocation of him by our sins; we do not make the design of the satisfaction to be that God may please himself in the revenging the sins of the guilty upon the most innocent person, because we make the design of punishment not to be the satisfaction of anger as a desire of revenge, but to be the vindication of the honour and rights of the offended person by such a way as he himself shall judge satisfactory to the ends of his government." (Discourse on the Sufferings of Christ.)
This is a sufficient answer; and we now proceed with those passages of Scripture, the phraseology of which still farther establishes the doc. trifle of Christ's atonement. To those, in which Christ is called a propitation, we add those which speak of reconciliation and the establishment of peace between God and man as the design and direct effect of his death. So Col. i, 19, 22, "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven; and you that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death." Romans v, 10, 11, "For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." 2 Cor. v, 18, 19, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and bath given to us the ministry of reconciliation." The verbs translated to reconcile are katallassw and apokatallassw, which signify a change from one state to another; but, in these passages, the connection determines the nature of the change to be a change from enmity to friendship In Rom. v, 11, the noun katallagh is rendered, in our translation, atonement; but it is contended, that it ought to have been rendered reconciliation, unless we admit the primitive meaning of the English word atonement, which is being at one, to be affixed to it. It was not in this sense certainly that the word atonement was used by the translators, and it is now fixed in its meaning, and, in common language, signifies propitiation in the proper and sacrificial sense. It is not, however, at all necessary to stand upon the rendering of katallagh in this passage by the term atonement. We lose nothing, as we shall see, and the Socinians gain nothing by rendering it reconciliation, which, indeed, appears more agreeable to the context. The word atonement would have been a proper substitute for "propitiation" in those passages of the New Testament in which it occurs, as being more obvious in its meaning to the common reader; and because the original word answers to the Hebrew rpk, which is used for the legal atonements; "but as the reconciliation which we have received through Christ was the effect of atonement made for us by his death, words Which denote the former simply, as katallagh, and words from the same root, may, when applied to the sacrifice of Christ, be not unfitly expressed by the latter, as containing in them its full import." (Magee's Discouses.) We may observe, also, that if, as it is contended, we must render Romans v, 11, "by whom we have received the reconciliation," the preceding verse must not be overlooked, which declares when we were enemies we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son," which death we have just seen is in other passages called a "propitiation" or "atonement;" and so the apostle conveys no other idea by the term reconciliation, than reconciliation through an atonement.
The expressions "reconciliation" and "making peace," necessarily suppose a previous state of hostility between God and man, which is reciprocal. This is sometimes called enmity, a term as it respects God, rather unfortunate since enmity is almost fixed in our language to signify a malignant and revengeful feeling. Of this, the oppugners of the doctrine of the atonement have availed themselves to argue, that as there can be no such affection in the Divine nature, therefore, reconciliation in Scripture does not mean the reconciliation of God to man,, but of man to God, whose enmity the example and teaching of Christ they tell us are very effectual to subdue. It is, indeed, a sad and humbling truth, and one which the Socinians in their discussions on the natural innocence of man are not willing to admit, that by the infection of sin "the carnal mind is enmity to GOD," that human nature is malignantly hostile to God, and to the control of his law; but this is far from expressing the whole of that relation of man, in which, in Scripture he is said to be at enmity with GOD, and so to need a reconciliation,-the making of peace between God and him. That relation is a legal one, as that of a sovereign in his judicial capacity and a criminal who ha, violated his laws, and risen up against his authority, and who is, there. fore, treated as an enemy. The word exqro~ is used in this passive sense, both in the Greek writers and in the New Testament. So, in Romans xi, 28, the Jews rejected and punished for refusing the Gospel are said by the apostle, "as concerning the Gospel" to be "enemies for your sakes;" treated and accounted such; "but, as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." In the same epistle, chap. v, 10, the term is used precisely in the same sense, and that with reference to the "reconciliation" by Christ,-" for if when we were, enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,"-that is, when we were objects of the Divine judicial displeasure, accounted as enemies, and liable to be capitally treated as such. Enmity, in the sense of malignity and the sentiment of hatred, is added to this relation in time case of man; but it is no part of the relation itself; it is rather a cause of it, as it is one of the actings of a corrupt nature which render man obnoxious to time displeasure and the penalty of the law of God, and place him in the condition of an enemy. It is this judicial variance and opposition between God and man, which is referred to in time term reconciliation," and in the phrase "making peace," in tine New Testament ; and the hostility is, therefore, in its own nature mutual.
But that there is no truth in the notion just refuted, viz, that reconciliation means no more than our laying aside our enmity to God, may also be shown from several express passages. The first is the passage we have above cited, Romans v, 11, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God." Here the act of reconciling is ascribed to God and not to us; but if this reconciliation consisted in the laying aside our own enmity, the act would be ours alone; and, farther, that it could not be the laying aside of our enmity, is clear from the text, which speaks of reconciliation while we were yet enemies.
"The reconciliation spoken of here, is not, as Socinus and his followers have said, our conversion. For that tine apostle is speaking of a benefit obtained for us previous to our conversion, appears evident from the opposite members of the two sentences. That of the former runs thus: 'much more being justified, we shall be saved from wrath through him,' and that of the latter, 'much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' The apostle argues from the greater to the less. If God were so benign to us before our conversion, what may we not expect from him now we are converted? To reconcile here cannot mean to convert; for the apostle evidently speaks of something greatly remarkable in the act of Christ; but to convert sinners is nothing remarkable, since none but sinners can be ever converted; whereas it was a rare and singular thing for Christ to die for sinners, and to reconcile sinners to God by his death, when there have been but very few good men, who have died for their friends. In the next place, conversion is referred more properly to his glorious life, than to his shameful death; but this reconciliation is attributed to his death, as contradistinguished from his glorious life, as is evident from the antithesis contained in the two verses. Beside, it is from the latter benefit that we learn the nature of the former. The latter, which belongs only to the converted, consists of the peace of GOD, and salvation from wrath, verse 9, 10. This, the apostle afterward calls, receiving the reconciliation, and what is it to receive the reconciliation, but to receive the remission of sins? Acts X, 43. To receive conversion is a mode of speaking entirely unknown. If, then, to receive the reconciliation is to receive the remission of sins and in effect to be delivered from wrath or punishment, to be reconciled must have a corresponding signification." (Vide Grotius L)e Satisfactione.)
2 Cor. v, 19, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Here, the manner of this reconciliation is expressly said to be not our laying aside our enmity, but the non-imputation of our trespasses to us by God, in other words, the Pardoning our offences and restoring us to favour. The promise, Ofl God's part, to do this is expressive of his previous reconciliation to the world by the death of Christ; for our actual reconciliation is distinguished from this by what follows, and hath "committed to us the ministry of reconciliation," by virtue of which all men were, by the apostles, entreated and besought to be reconciled to GOD. The reason, too, of this reconciliation of God to the world, by virtue of which he promises not to impute sin, is grounded by the apostle, in the last verse of the chapter, not upon the laying aside of enmity by men, but upon the sacrifice of Christ :-" FOR he hath made him to be sin (a sin offering) for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in him."
Ephesians ii, 16, "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Here the act of reconciling is attributed to Christ. Man is not spoken of as reconciling himself to God, but Christ is said to reconcile Jews and Gentiles together, and both to GOD, "by his cross." Thus, says the apostle, "he is our peace;" but in what manner is the peace effected? Not, in the first instance, by subduing the enmity of man's heart, but by removing the enmity of "the law." "Having abolished in, or by his flesh, the enmity, even the law of commandments." The ceremonial law only is here, probably, meant; for by its abolition through its fulfilment in Christ the enmity between Jews and Gentiles was taken away; but still it was not only necessary to reconcile Jew and Gentile together, but to "reconcile both unto God." This be did by the same act; abolishing the ceremonial law by becoming the antitype of all its sacrifices; and. thus, by the sacrifice of himself, effecting the reconciliation of all to GOD, "slaying the enmity by his cross," taking away whatever hindered the reconciliation of the guilty to GOD, which, as we have seen, was not enmity and hatred to GOD in the human mind only, but that judicial hostility and variance which separated God and man as Judge and criminal. The feeble criticism of Socinus, on this passage, in which he has been followed by his adherents to this day, is thus answered by Grotius. "In this passage, the dative Qew, to God, can only be governed by the verb apocatallaxh, that he might reconcile; for the interpretation of Socinus, which makes 'to GOD' stand by itself, or that to reconcile to GOD is to reconcile them among themselves, that they might serve GOD, Is distorted and without example. Nor is the argument valid which is drawn from thence, that in this place St. P properly treats of the peace made between Jews and Gentiles; for neither does it follow, from this argument, that it was beside his purpose to, mention the peace made for each with GOD. For the two opposite which are joined, are so joined among themselves, that they should be primarily and chiefly joined by that bond; for they are not united among themselves, except by and for that bond. Gentiles and Jews, therefore, are made friends among themselves by friendship with God." (Vide Grotius Be Satisfactione.)
Here also a critical remark will be appropriate. The above passages will show how falsely it has been asserted that God is nowhere, in Scripture, said to be reconciled to us, and that they only declare that -we are reconciled to God; but the fact is, that the very phrase of our being reconciled to God, imports the turning away his wrath from us Whitby observes, on the words katallattein and katallagh, "that they naturally import the reconciliation of one that is angry or displeased with us, both in profane and Jewish writers." (See also Hammond, Rosenmuller, and Schleusner.) When the Philistines suspected that David would appease the anger of Saul, by becoming their adversary, they said, "Wherewith should he reconcile himself to his master? Should it not be with the heads of these men?"-not, surely, how shall he remove his own anger against his master; but how shall he remove his master's anger against him; how shall he restore himself to his master's favour? "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember. est that thy brother hath aught against thee," not that thou hast aught against thy brother, "first be reconciled to thy brother ;" that is, appease and conciliate him: so that the words, in fact, import "see that thy brother be reconciled to thee," since that which goes before is not that he hath done thee an injury, but thou him.
Thus, then, for us to be reconciled to God is to avail ourselves of the means by which the anger of God toward us is to be appeased, which the New Testament expressly declares to be generally "the sin offering" of him "who knew no sin," and instrumentally, as to each individual personally, "faith in his blood."
A general objection of the Socinians to this doctrine of reconciliation may be easily answered. When we speak of the necessity of Christ's atonement, in order to man's forgiveness, we are told that we represent the Deity as implacable; when we rebut that by showing that it was his very placability, his boundless and ineffable love to men, which sent his Son into the world to die for the sins of mankind, they rejoin with their leaders, Socinus and Crellius, that then "God was reconciled before he sent his Son, and that, therefore, Christ did not die to reconcile GOD to us." The answer plainly is, that in this objection, they either mean that God had, from the placability and compassion of his nature, determined to be reconciled to offenders upon the sending his Son, or that he was actually reconciled when our Lord was sent. The first is What we contend for, and is in no wise inconsistent with the submission of our Lord to death, since that was in pursuance of the merciful appointment and decree of the Father; and the necessary medium by Which this placability of God could honourably and consistently show itself in actual reconciliation, or the pardon of sin. That God was not actually reconciled to man, that is, that he did not forgive our offences, independent of the death of Christ, is clear, for then sin would have been forgiven before it was committed, and remission of sins could riot have been pm-cached in the name of Christ, nor could a ministry of reconciliation have been committed to the apostles. The reconciliation of God to man is, throughout, a conditional one, and, as in all concessional processes of this kind, it has three stages. The first is when the party offended is disposed to admit of terms of agreement, which, in God, is matter of pure grace and favour; the second is when he declares his acceptance of the mediation of a third person, and that he is so satisfied with what he hath done in order to it, that he appoints it to be announced to the offender, that if the breach continues, the fault lies wholly upon himself; the third is when the offender accepts of the terms of agreement which are offered to him, submits, and is received into favour. "Thus," says Bishop Stillingfleet, "upon the death and sufferings of Christ, God declares that he is so satisfied with what Christ hath done and suffered in order to the reconciliation between himself and us, that he now publishes remission of sins to the world, upon those terms which the Mediator hath declared by his own doctrine and the apostles he sent to preach it. But because remission of sins doth not immediately follow upon the death of Christ, without any supposition of any act on our part, therefore the state of favour doth commence from the performance of the conditions which are required of us." (Discourse on the Sufferings of Christ. See also Grotius De Satisfactione, cap. vii.) Whoever considers these obvious distinctions will have an ample answer to the Sociniain objection.
5. To the texts which speak of reconciliation with God as illustrative of the nature of the death of Christ for us, we add those which speak of "redemption ;" either by employing that word itself, or others of the same import. Rom. iii, 24, "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Gal. iii, 13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Ephesians i, 7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." 1 Peter 18, 19, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot." 1 Cor. vi, 19, 20, "And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price."
By redemption those who deny the atonement made by Christ wish to understand deliverance merely, regarding only the effect, and studiously putting out of sight the cause from which it flows. But time very terms used in tile above cited passages, "to redeem," and "to be bought with a price," will each be found to refute this notion of a gratuitous deliverance, whether from sin or punishment, or both. Our English word to redeem, literally means to -buy back; and lutruw, to redeem, and apolutrwsi, redemption, are, both in Greek writers and in the New Testament, used for the act of setting free a captive, by paying lutron, a ransom or redemption price. But, as Grotius (Be Satisfactione, cap. viii) has fully shown, by reference to the use of the words both in sacred and profane writers, redemption signifies not merely the liberation of captives, but deliverance from exile, death, and every other evil from which we may be freed; and lutron signifies every thing which satisfies another, so as to effect this deliverance. The nature of this redemption, or purchased deliverance, (for it is not gratuitous liberation, as will presently appear,) is, therefore, to be ascertained by the circumstances of those who are the subjects of it. The subjects in the case before us are sinful men. They are under guilt,-under "the curse of the law," the servants of sin, under the power and dominion of the devil, and "taken captive by him at his will"-liable to the death of the body and to eternal punishment. To the whole of this case, the redemption, the purchased deliverance of man, as proclaimed in the Gospel, applies itself. Hence, in the above cited and other passages, it is said "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," in opposition to guilt; redemption from "the curse of the law ;" deliverance from sin, that "we should be set free from sin ;" deliverance from the power of Satan; from death, by a resurrection; and from future "wrath," by the gift of eternal life. Throughout the whole of this glorious doctrine of our redemption from these tremendous evils there is, however, in the New Testament, a constant reference to the lutron, the redemption price, which lutron is as constantly declared to be the death of Christ, which he endured in our stead. Matt. xx, 28, "The Son of man came to give his life a ransom (lutron) for many." 1 Tim. ii, 6, "Who gave himself a ransom (antilutron) for all." Ephesians i, 7, "In whom we have redemption (thn apolutrwsin) through his blood."
1 Peter i, 18, 19, "Ye were not redeemed (elutrwqhte) with corruptible things, as silver and gold-but with the precious blood of Christ." That deliverance of man from sin, misery, and all other penal evils of his transgression which constitutes our redemption by Christ is not, therefore, a gratuitous deliverance, granted without a consideration, as an act of mere prerogative; the ransom, the redemption price, was exacted and paid; one thing was given for another,-the precious blood of Christ for captive and condemned men. Of the same import are those passages which represent us as having been "bought," or "purchased" by Christ. St. Peter speaks of those "who denied the Lord that bought them," (ton agorasanta autou~,) and St. Paul, in the passage cited above, says "ye are bought (hgorasqhte) with a price;" which price is expressly said by St. John, Rev. v, 9, to be the blood of Christ-" 'Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God (hgorasa~, hast purchased us) by thy blood."
The means by which it has been attempted to evade the force of these most express statements of the inspired writers remain to be pointed out and refuted.
The first is to allege that the term redemption is sometimes used for simple deliverance, where no price or consideration is supposed to be given; as when we read in the Old Testament of God's redeeming his people from trouble, from death, from danger. where no price is mentioned; and when Moses is called, Acts vii, 35, lutrwth, a redeemer, because he delivered his people from the bondage of Egypt. But one occasional use of the term in an improper and allusive sense cannot be urged against its strict and proper signification universally; and granting the occasional use of it in an improper sense, it will still remain to be proved that, in the passages just adduced out of the New Testament, it is used in this manner. The propriety of words is not to be receded from, but for weighty reasons. The strict meaning of the verb w redeem, is to deliver from captivity, by paying a ransom; it is extended to signify deliverance from evils of various kinds by the intervention of a valuable consideration; it is, in some cases, used far deliverance by any means; the context of the passage, in which the word occurs, and the circumstances of the case must, therefore, be resorted to in order to determine the sense in which the word is used. Fair criticism requires that we take words in their proper sense, unless a sufficient reason can be shown, from their connection, to the contrary, and not that we are first to take them in their improper sense until the proper sense is forced upon us by argument. This, however, is not a case of argument, but of the obvious sense of the words used; for if deliverances, in some passages of the Old Testament, from trouble and danger are spoken of as a redemption, without reference to a lutron, or ransom, our redemption by Christ is not so spoken of; but, on the contrary, the lutron, or redemption price, is repeatedly, expressly, and emphatically mentioned, and that price is said to be "the blood of Christ." When Greek writers speak of apoina and lutra, with reference to the release of a prisoner, nothing could be more absurd, than to attempt to resolve these terms into a figurative meaning; because their mention of tile price, and the act of paying it, and the circumstances under which it was paid, all show that they use the terms in the proper and strict sense. For the same reason must they be so understood in the New Testament, since the price itself, which constitutes the lutron, and the person who paid it, and the circumstances under which the transaction took place, are all given with as minute an historical precision, and a figurative interpretation would involve us in as great an absurdity in the one case as the other. We apply this to the case of Moses being called a redeemer, with reference to his delivering Israel from Egypt, and remark, that the improper use of that term may be allowed in the case of Moses, because he is nowhere said to have redeemed Israel by his death, nor by his blood, nor to have purchased the Jews with a price, nor to have given himself as a ransom; nor to have, interposed any other consideration, on account of which be was allowed to lead his people out of captivity. He is said to be a deliverer, a redeemer, and that is all; but the idea of a proper redemption could not, in the nature of things, apply to the case, and, therefore, it is impossible to interpret the term in its proper sense. The Jews were captives, and he delivered them; this was sufficient to warrant the use of the term redemption in its improper sense, a very customary thing in language; but their captivity was not their fault, as ours is; it was not penal, as ours; they were delivered from unjust oppression; and God required of Moses no redemption price, as a consideration for interposing to free them from bondage. in our case, the captivity was penal; there was a right lodged with the justice of God to detain us, and to inflict punishment upon us; and a consideration was therefore required, in respect of which that right was relaxed. In one instance we are, therefore, compelled to interpret the word in an improper sense; in the other strictly; at least no argument can be drawn from the use of the word with reference to Moses, to turn it 'out of its proper signification when used of Christ; and especially when all the circumstances, which the word in its proper sense was intended to convey, are found in the case to which the redemption of man by Christ is applied. Above all, the word lutron is added by Scripture to the deliverance of men, effected by Christ; but it is nowhere added to the deliverance effected for the Israelites by Moses; and by this it is, in fact, declared, that the mode by which the redemption of each was effected, was not the same,-the one was by the destruction of the enemies of the Israelites; the other by the death of the Deliverer himself.
It has been attempted to evade the literal import of the important terms on which we have dwelt, by urging, that such an interpretation would involve the absurdity of paying a price to Satan, the power said to hold men captive at his will.
But why should the idea of redemption be confined to the purchasing of a captive? The reason appears to be, that the objection may be invested with some plausibility, The fact, however, is, that this is but one species and instance of redemption; for the word, in its proper and general sense, means deliverance from evil of any kind, a lutron or valuable consideration intervening; which valuable consideration may not always be literally a price, that is, not money, but something done, or something suffered, by which, in the case of commutation of punish ment, the lawgiver is satisfied, though no benefit occurs to him; be cause in punishment respect is not had to the benefit of the lawgiver, but to the common good and order of things. So when Zaleucus, the Locrian lawgiver, had to pass sentence upon his son, for a crime which, by his own laws, condemned the aggressor to the loss of both his eyes, rather than relax his laws by sparing his son, he ordered him to be deprived of one of his eyes, and submitted to be deprived of one himself. Thus the eye of Zaleucus was the lutron of that of his son; and, in a decimation of mutinous soldiers, those who are punished are the lutron of the whole body.
But even if the redemption, in Scripture, related wholly to captivity, it does not follow that the price must be paid to him who detains the captive. Our captivity to Satan is not parallel to the case of a captive taken in war, and in whom, by the laws of war, the captor has obtained a right, and demands an equivalent for liberation and the renunciation of that right. Our captivity to Satan is judicial. Man listens to temptation, violates the laws of God, joins in a rebellion against his authority, and his being left under the power of Satan is part of his punishment. The satisfaction is, therefore, to be made to the law under which this captivity is made a part of the penalty; not to him who detains the captive, and who is but a permitted instrument. in the execution of the law, but to him whose law has been violated. He who pays the price of redemption has to do with the judicial authority only, and, his lutron being accepted, he proceeds to rescue the object of his compassion, and becomes the actual redeemer.
The lutron, in the case of man, is the blood of Christ; and our redemption is not a commutation of a pecuniary price for a person, but a com mutation of the sufferings of one person in the stead of another, which sufferings being a punishment, in order to satisfaction, is a valuable consideration, and, therefore, a price for the redemption of man out of the hinds of Satan, and from all the consequences of that captivity. (Vide Stillingfleet's Discourses on the Sufferings, &c.)
Under this head, now that we are showing that the death of Christ is exhibited in Scripture as the price of our redemption, it may also be necessary to meet another objection, that this doctrine of purchase and commutation is inconsistent with that freeness of the grace of God in the forgiveness of sins, on which so great a stress is laid in the Scriptures. This objection has been urged from Socinus to Dr. Priestley, and is thus stated by the latter: (History of the Corruptions:) "The Scriptures uniformly represent God as our universal parent, pardoning sinners freely, that is, from his natural goodness and mercy, whenever they repent and reform their lives. All the declarations of Divine mercy are made, without reserve and limitation, to the truly penitent, through all the books of Scripture, without the most distant hint of any regard being bad to the sufferings or merit of any being whatever." The proofs which he gives for this bold, and, indeed, impudent position, are chiefly the declaration of the apostle, that we are justified freely by the grace of God, and he contends that the word freely "implies that forgiveness is the free gift of God, and proceeds from his essential goodness and mercy, without regard to any foreign consideration whatever." It is singular, however, that the position, as Dr. Priestley has put it in the above quotations, refutes itself; for even he restricts the exercise of this mercy of God," to the truly penitent," "to them who repent and reform their lives." Forgiveness, therefore, is not, even according to him and his followers, free in the sense of unconditional; and at the very time he denies that pardon is bestowed by God," without regard to any consideration whatever, foreign to his essential goodness and mercy," he acknowledges that it is regulated, in its exercise, by the consideration of the penitence or non-penitence of the guilty, who are the subjects of it, from which the contradictory conclusion follows, that, in bestowing mercy, God has respect to a consideration foreign to his goodness and mercy, even the penitence of man, so that there is, in the mode of dispensing mercy, a reserve and limitation on the part of GOD.
Thus, then, unless they would let in all kinds of license, by preaching an unconditional pardon, the Socinians are obliged to acknowledge, that a thing may be done freely, which is, nevertheless, not done unconditionally. For, as it was replied, of old, to Socinus, whom Dr. Priestley follows in this objection, if this be not acknowledged, then the grossest Antinomianism is the true doctrine. For, if forgiveness of sin Can only be accounted a free gift by being dependent upon no condition, and subject to no restrictions, it follows, that the repentance and amendment of the offender himself are no more to be regarded than the sufferings and merit of any other being; and, consequently, that all sinners, without reserve or limitation, have an equal claim of pardon, Whether Luley repent or not. If, to avoid this consequence, be said that God is free to choose the objects to whom he will show mercy, and to impose upon them such restrictions, and to require of them such qualifications as he thinks fit; it may then, with equal reason, be asserted, that he is also free to dispense his mercy for such reasons and by such methods as he, in his wisdom, shall determine to be most conducive to his own glory and the good of his creatures, and there is no reason whatever to be given why a regard to the sufferings or merit of another person should more destroy the freeness of the gift, than the requisition of certain 'qualifications in the object himself. (Vide Veysies Bampton Lectures.) Thus the argument urged in the objection proves as much against the objectors as it does against us, or rather it proves nothing against either for the showing mercy to the guilty, by any method, was a matter in which almighty God was perfectly free. He might have exacted the penalty of his violated law upon the sinning individual; and to forgive sin, in any manner, was, in him, therefore, an act of unspeakable grace sand favour. Again, from the mode and limitation of dispensing this grace and favour, he derives no advantage (for the gratification of his own benevolence e is not a question of interest) in the whole transaction'; both in tine mercy dispensed and in the mode the benefit of the creature is kept in view; nor could the persons pardoned themselves furnish any part of the consideration on which they are pardoned, or, of themselves, perform the conditions required of them; so that, for all these reasons, the pardon of man is a free gift, and its mode of being dispensed is the proof that it is so, and not a proof to the contrary.
But the very passage of St. Paul, to which Dr. Priestley refers, when he contends that the doctrine of the New Testament is, "that forgive ness is the free gift of God, and proceeds from his essential goodness' and mercy, without regard to any foreign consideration whatever," refutes his inference. The passage is, "being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." The same doctrine is taught in other passages; and so far is it from being true, that no reference is made to any consideration beyond the mere" good ness and mercy of God, that consideration is 'stated in so many express words, "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;" of which redemption the blood of Christ is the price, as taught in the text above commented on. But though it was s convenient, in order to render a bold assertion more plausible, to keep this out of sight, a little reflection might have shown, that the argument built upon the word freely, the term used by the apostle, proceeds upon an entire mistake. The expression has reference to ourselves and to our own exertions in the work of justification, not to any thing which has been done by another in our behalf; and it is here used to denote the manner in which the blessing is bestowed, not the means by which it was procured. "Being justified freely by his grace"-freely, in the original dwrean, in the way of a gift unmerited by us, and not in the way of a reward for our worthiness or desert, agreeably to the assertion of the apostle in another place, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." To be justified, is to be pardoned, and treated as righteous in the sight of God, and to be admitted thus into his favour and acceptance. But man, in his fallen state, bad nothing in himself, and could do nothing of himself, by which he might merit, or claim as his due so great a benefit. Having, therefore, no pretensions to real righteousness, our absolution from the guilt of sin, and our admission to the character and privileges of righteous persons, must be imputed not to our merit, but to the grace of God; it is an act of mercy which we must acknowledge and receive as a free gift, and not demand as a just reward. Nor do the means by which our justification was affected in any respect alter its nature as a gift, or in the least diminish its freedom. "We are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ;" but this redemption was not procured by us, nor provided at our expense. It was the result of the pure love of God, who, compassionating our misery, himself provided the means of our deliverance, by sending his only-begotten Son into the world, who voluntarily submitted to die upon the cross, that he might become the propitiation for our sins, and reconcile us to GOD. Thus is the whole an entire act of mercy on the part of God and Christ; begun and completed for our benefit, but without our intervention; and, therefore, with respect to us, the pardon of sin must still be accounted a gift, though it comes to us through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.
Equally unfounded is the argument built upon the passages in which the forgiveness of sins is represented under the notion of the free remission of a debt; in which act, it is said, there is no consideration of atonement and satisfaction. When sin is spoken of as a debt, a metaphor is plainly employed, and it would be a novel rule to interpret what is plainly literal by what is metaphorical. There is, undoubtedly, some. thing in the act of forgiving sin which is common with the act of remitting a debt by a creditor, or there would be no foundation for the metaphor; but it can by no means legitimately follow, that the remission of sins is, in aft its circumstances, to be interpreted by all the circumstances which accompany the free remission of a debt. We know on the contrary, that remission of sins is not unconditional; repentance and faith are required in order to it, which is acknowledged by the Socinians themselves. But this acknowledgment is fatal to the argument they would draw from the instances in the New Testament, in which almighty God is represented as a merciful creditor, freely forgiving his insolvent debtors; for if the act of remitting sins be in all respects like the act of forgiving debts, then indeed can neither repentance, nor faith, nor condition of any kind, be insisted upon in order to forgiveness; since, in the instances referred to, the debtors were discharged without any expressed condition at all. But something, also, previous to our repentance and faith, is constantly connected an the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament with the very offer of forgiveness. "It behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day," that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." It was necessary, as we have already seen, that the one should take place before the other could be announced; and some degree of necessity is allowed in the case, even on the Socinian hypothesis, although a very subordinate one. But if by an act of prerogative alone, unfettered by any considerations of justice and right, as is a creditor when he freely forgives a debt, GOD forgives sins, then there could be no necessity of any conceivable kind for "Christ to suffer;" and the offer of remission of sins would, in that case, have been wholly independent of, his sufferings, which is contrary to the text. In perfect accordance with the above passage, is that in Acts xiii, 38, where it is said, "Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man, (dia thth through the means of this man,) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." Here the same means as those before mentioned by St. Luke, are obviously referred to, "the death and resurrection of Christ." Still more expressly, Matt. xxvi, 28, our Lord declares that his blood is "the blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins ;" where he plainly makes his blood the pro curing cause of that remission, and a necessary libation in order to its being attainable. Our redemption is said by St. Paul, Ephes. i, 7, to be, "through his blood," and this redemption he explains to be "the re. mission of our sins ;" and in writing to the Hebrews he lays it down, as that very principle of the Old Testament dispensation which made typical of the New, that "without shedding of blood there was no remission." This remission, is, nevertheless, for the reasons given above, always represented as a free act of the Divine mercy; for the apostles saw no inconsistency in giving to it this free and gracious character on the one hand, and on the other proclaiming, that that free and adorable mercy was called into exercise by the "chastisement of our sins being la-id upon Christ ;" and thus by uniting both, they broadly and infallibly distinguish "the act of a lawgiver, who in forgiving sins has respect to the authority of the law, and the act of a creditor, who in remitting debt disposes of his property at his pleasure."
But although no criticism can be more fallacious than to interpret the forgiveness of sins, which is a plain and literal transaction, by a metaphor, or a parable, which may have either too few or too many circum stances interwoven with it for just illustration, when applied beyond, or contrary to, its intention, the reason of the metaphor is at once obvious and beautiful. The verb afihmi, is the word commonly used for the remission of sins and the remission of debts. It signifies to send away, dismiss; and is accommodated to both these acts. The ideas of absolute right in one party, and of binding obligation on the other, hold good equally as to the lawgiver and the transgressor, the creditor and the debtor. The lawgiver has a right to demand obedience, the creditor to demand his property; the transgressor of law is under the bond of its penalty, the debtor is under the obligation of repayment or imprisonment. This is the basis of the comparison between debts of money, and obligations of obedience to a lawgiver; and the same word is equally well applied to express the cancelling of each, though, except in the respects just stated, they are transactions and relations very different to each other. Every sin involves an obligation to punishment; and when sin is dismissed, sent away, or in other words forgiven, the liability to punishment is removed, just as when a debt is dismissed, lift away, or in other words remitted, the obligation of repayment, and, in default of that, the obligation of imprisonment, or, according to the ancient law, of being sold as a slave, is removed with it. So far the resemblance goes; but the Scriptures themselves, by connecting pardon of sin with a previous atonement, prevent it from being carried farther. And, in. deed, the reason of the case sufficiently shows the difference between the remitting of a debt, which is the act of a private man, and the par. don of transgressions against a public law, which is the act of a magistrate; between an act which affects the private interests of one, and an act, which, in its bearing upon the authority of the public law and the protection and welfare of society, affects the interests of many; in a word, between an act which is a matter of mere feeling, and in which rectoral justice can have no place, and one which must be harmonized with rectoral justice; for compassion to the guilty can never be the leading rule of government.
6. The nature of the death of Christ is still farther explained in the New Testament, by the manner in which it connects our justification with "faith in the blood," the sufferings which Christ endured in our stead; and both our justification, and the death of Christ as its meritorious cause, with "THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD." According to the testimony of the whole of the evangelic writers, the justification of man is an act of the highest grace, a manifestation of the superlative and ineffable love of GOD, and is, at the same time a strictly RIGHTEOUS Proceeding.
These views, scattered throughout the books of the New Testament, are summed up in the following explicit language of St. Paul, Rom. iii, 24-26: "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom Cod hath set forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." The argument of the apostle is exceedingly lucid, He treats of man's justification before GOD, of which he mentions two methods. The first is by our own obedience to the law of God, on the principle of all righteous law, that obedience secures exemption from punishment; or, as he expresses it, chap. x, 5, "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth these things shall live by them." This method of justification he proves to be impossible to than in his present state of degeneracy, and from the actual transgressions of Jews and Gentiles, on account of which "the whole world" is guilty before God; and he therefore lays it down as an incontrovertible maxim, that "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified," since "by the law is the knowledge of sin;" for which it provides no remedy. The other method is justification by the grace of God, as a "free gift;" but coming to us through the intervention of the death of Christ, as our redemption price; and received instrumentally by our faith in him. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." He then immediately adds, "whom God hath set forth," openly exhibited and publicly announced, "to be a propitiation;" to be the person through whose voluntary and vicarious sufferings he is reconciled to sinful man, and by whom be will justify all who "through faith" confide "in" the virtue of "his blood," shed for the remission of sins. But this public announcement and setting forth of Christ as a propitiation was not only for a declaration of the Divine mercy; but pardon was offered to men in this method, to declare the "righteousness" of GOD, (ei~ ens deixin dikaiosunh~ anth,) for a demonstration of his righteousness or justice, in the remission of past sins; "that he might be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus"-that he might show himself to be strictly and inviolably, righteous in the administration of his government, even while he justified the offender that believes in Jesus. The Socinian version renders the clause, "to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins," to show his method of justification concerning the remission of past sins. Even then the strict rectoral justice of the act of justifying sinners, through faith in the blood of Christ, is expressed by the following clause, "that he might be JUST;" but the sense of the whole passage requires the literal rendering, "to declare his justice, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." Some have indeed taken the word "just" (dikaio~) in the sense of merciful; but this is wholly arbitrary. It occurs, says Whitby, above eighty times in the New Testament, and not once in that sense. The sense just given is confirmed by all the ancient versions, and it is indeed put beyond the reach of verbal criticism by the clause, "for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." For, whatever view we take of this clause, whether we refer it to the sins of men before the coming of Christ, or to the past sins of one who is at any time justified, the paresi~, or "passing over" of sins, or, if the common rendering please better, "the remission of sins," and the "forbearance of God," are acts of obvious mercy; and to say that thus the mercy of GOD is manifested, is tautological and identical; whereas past sins not punished through the forbearance of GOD, without a public atonement, might have brought the justice of God into question, but certainly not his mercy. It was the justice of the proceeding, therefore, that needed a demonstration, and not the mercy of it. This, too, is time obvious reason for the repetition so emphatically used by the apostle, and which is no otherwise to be accounted for; "to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness;" "at this time," now that Christ has actually appeared to pay the ransom, and to become the publicly announced propitiation for sin; God cannot now appear otherwise than just, although he justifies him that believeth in Jesus. Similar language is also used by St. John 1st Epistle, i, 9, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."-So that the grand doctrine of Christianity is unequivocally stated by both apostles to be, that, according to its constitution, the forgiveness of sin is at once an act of mercy and an act of justice, or of strictly righteous government. Neither the Socinian nor the Arian hypothesis, at all harmonizes with this principle; on the contrary, they both directly contradict it, and cannot, therefore, be true. They make the forgiveness of sin, indeed, an act of mercy: but with them it is impossible that it should be an act of justice, because sin receives not its threatened punishment; the penalty of the law is not exacted; the offender meets with entire impunity; and the Divine administration, so far from being a righteous one, has, according to their system, no respect to either truth or righteousness; and, so far as offences against the Divine law are concerned, that law is reduced to a dead letter.
But in Scripture the doctrine of forgiveness of sins, through the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, is not only asserted to be a demonstration of the righteousness of God in a case which might seem to bring it into question, but the particular steps and parts of this "demonstration" are, by its light, easy to be traced. For,
1. The law, the rule of the Divine government, is by this means established in its authority and perpetuity. The hypothesis which rejects the doctrine of the atonement, repeals the law by giving impunity to transgression; for, if punishment does not follow offence, or no other term of pardon be required than one which the culprit has it always in his own power, at once, to offer, (which we have seen is the case with the repentance stated by Socinians as the only condition of forgiveness,) then is the law, as to its authority, virtually repealed, and the Divine government, over rebellious creatures, annihilated. The Christian doctrine of atonement, on time contrary, is, that sin cannot go unpunished in the Divine administration, and, therefore, the authority of the law is established by this absolute and everlasting exclusion of impunity from transgression.
2. Whether we take the righteousness or justice of God, for that holiness and rectitude of his nature from which his punitive justice flows; or for the latter, which consists in exacting the penalty righteously and wisely attached to offences against the Divine law, or for both united as the stream and the fountain; it is demonstrated, by the refusal of impunity to sin, that God is this holy amid righteous Being, this strict and exact Governor. On any other theory, there is no manifestation of God's hatred of sin, answering at all to that intense holiness of his nature, which must lead him to abhor it; and no proof of his rectoral justice as Governor of the world. Mercy is, according to them all, administered on a mere principle of feeling, without any regard to holiness or justice whatever.
3. The doctrine which connects the pardon of the guilty with the meritorious death of Christ, illustrates time attribute of Divine justice, by the very act of connecting amid blending it with the attribute of love, and the exercise of an effectual compassion. At the time that it guards with so much care, the doctrine of non-impunity to sin, it offers impunity to the sinner; but then the medium through which this offer is made serves to heighten the impression of God's hatred to sin, and the inflexible character of his justice. The person appointed to suffer time punishment' of sin and the penalty of time law for us, was not a mere human being, not a creature of any kind, however exalted, but the Son of God; and in him Divinity and humanity where united in one person, so that he was "God manifested in the flesh," assuming our nature in order that he might offer it in death a sacrifice to GOD. If this was 'necessary, and we have already proved it to have been so in the strictest sense, then is sin declared, by the strongest demonstration we can conceive, to be an evil of immeasurable extent; and the justice of God is, by a demonstration of equal force, declared to be inflexible and inviolable. God "spared not his own Son."
Here, indeed, it has been objected by Socinus and his followers, that the digumity of a person adds nothing to the estimation of his sufferings. The common opinion of mankind, in all ages, is, however, a sufficient refutation of this objection. for in proportion to the excellence of the creatures immolated in sacrifice have the value and efficacy of oblations been estimated by all people; which notion, when perverted, made them resort, in some instances, to human sacrifices, in cases of great extremity; and surely, if the principle of substitution existed in the penal law of any human government, it would be universally felt to make a great difference in tine character of the law, whether an honourable or a mean substitute were exacted in place of the guilty; and that it would have greatly changed the character of the act of Zaleucus, the Locrian lawgiver, before mentioned, and placed the estimation in which he held his own laws, and the degree of strictness with which he was determined to uphold them, in a very different light, if, instead of parting with one of his own eyes, in place of the remaining eye of his son, he had ordered the eye of some base slave or of a malefactor to be plucked out. But without entering into this, the notion will be explicitly refuted, if we turn to the testimony of Holy Writ itself, in which the dignity and Divinity of our Lord are so often emphatically referred to as stamping that value upon his sacrifice, as giving that consideration to his voluntary sufferings on our account, which we usually express by the term of " his merits," Acts xx, 28, as GOD, he is said to have "purchased the Church with HIS own BLOOD." In Colos. i, 14, 15, we are said to have "redemption through HIS BLOOD, who is the IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD." In 1 Cor. ii, 8, "the LORD OF GLORY is said to have been CRUCIFIED." St. Peter emphatically calls the blood of Christ "PRECIOUS BLOOD;" and St. Paul dwells particularly upon this peculiarity, when he contrasts the sacrifice of Christ with those of the law, and when he ascribes that purifying efficacy, which he denies to the blood of bulls and of goats, to the blood of Christ. "How much more shall the BLOOD OF CHRIST, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." By the argument of Socinus there could be no difference between the blood of animals, shed under the law, as to value and efficacy, and the blood of Christ, which is directly in time teeth of the declaration and argument of the apostle, who also asserts, that the patterns of things in the heavens were purified by animal sacrifices; "but the heavenly things themselves with BETTER SACRIFICES than these," namely, the oblation of Christ.
To another objection of Socinus, that because the Divinity itself suffers not, therefore it does not enter into this consideration of punishment, Grotius well replies, This is as much as to say that it is offence of the same kind whether you strike a private person or a king, a Stranger or a father, because blows are directed against the body, not against dignity or relationship.
4. In farther considering this subject, as illustrating the inherent and the rectoral righteousness of GOD, we are to recollect that, although by the atonement made for the sins of mankind by the death of Christ, all men, antecedently to their repentance and faith, are, to use the language of divines, put into "a salvable state," yet none of them are by this act of Christ, brought from under the authority of the moral law. This remains in its full and original force, and as they all continue under the original obligation of obedience, so in case of those conditions not being complied with, on which the actual communication of the benefit of redemption has been made to depend, those who neglect the great salvation offered to them by Christ, fall under the full original penalty of the law, and are left to its malediction, without obstruction to the exercise and infliction of Divine justice. Nor, with respect to those who perform the conditions required of them, and who, by faith in. Christ, are justified, and thus escape punishment, is there any repeal, or.. even relaxation, of the authority of the law of GOD. The end of justification is not to set men free from law, but from punishment; for, concomitant with justification, though distinct from it, is the communication of the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, by which the coy rapt and invalid nature of man is restored to the love of holiness the power to practise it, and thus the law of God becomes his const rule, and the measure of that holiness to which, when this new creation has taken place, he vigorously aspires: "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Not, indeed, that this obedience, which, in the present life, is, in some respects, imperfect, amid in every degree the result of the operation of God within us, can, after this change, be the*j rule of our continued justification and acceptance; that will rest, from first to last, upon the atonement of Christ, pleaded in our behalf; that, if any man again sin, "he has an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" but true faith leads, by an inseparable connection, both to justification and to regeneration; and they who, as the apostle argues, Romans vi, 2, are thus "dead to sin, cannot continue any longer therein," but yield willing obedience to the law of The rule of God, the authority of his law is thus re-established over his creatures, and the strictness of a righteous government is united with the exercise of a tender mercy.
Thus, then, in the doctrine of the atonement of Christ, we see how the righteousness, the essential and the rectoral justice, of God is manifested. There is no impunity to sin; and yet the impunity to the sinner, through faith in the blood of Christ, does not repeal, does not lower, but establish the law of God. These views will also enable us to attach all explicit meaning to the theological phrase, "the satisfaction made to Divine justice," by which the nature of Christ's atonement is often expressed. This is not a phrase of Holy Writ; but it is not, on that account, to be disregarded, since, like many others, it has been found useful as a guard against subtle evasions of the doctrine of Scripture, and in giving explicitness, not, indeed, to the language of inspiration, but to the sense in which that language is interpreted.
The two following views of satisfaction may be given as those which are most prevalent among those divines who hold the doctrine of the atonement of Christ.
The first may be thus epitomized the justice of God being concerned to vindicate his laws, and to inflict upon offenders the due reward of their evil deeds, it is agreed that, without proper satisfaction, sin could not be forgiven. For, as sin is opposite to the purity and holiness of God, and, consequently, cannot but provoke his displeasure; and, as justice is essential to the Divine nature, and exists there in a supreme degree, it must, inflexibly, require the punishment of those who are thus objects of his wrath. The satisfaction, therefore, made by the death of Christ consisted in his taking the place of the guilty; and in his sufferings and death being, from the dignity of his nature, regarded by the offended Lawgiver, as a full equivalent and adequate compensation for the punishment by death, of the personally guilty.
The second opinion does not assume the absolute necessity of a satisfaction to Divine justice, but chiefly insists upon the wisdom and fitness of the measure, arguing, that it became the almighty Governor of the universe to consult the honour of his law, and not to suffer it to be violated with impunity, lest his subjects should call in question his justice. Accordingly, he sent his own Son into the world, who, by dying for our sins, obtained our release from punishment; and, at the same time, made an honourable display of the righteousness of God. In a word, Christ is supposed, in this opinion, to have made satisfaction for our Sins, not because his death is to be accounted an adequate compensation, or a full equivalent for the remission of punishment; but because his suffering in our stead maintained the honour of the Divine law, and yet gave free scope to the mercy of the Lawgiver.
Both these opinions have great names for their advocates; but the reader will feel, that there is too much indistinctness in the terms and phrases in which they are expressed for either of them to be received as a satisfactory enunciation of this important doctrine. The first opinion, though greatly to be preferred, and with proper explanations, just, is defective in not explaining what is meant by the terms "a full equivalent" and "an adequate compensation." The second is objectionable, as appearing to refer the atonement more to wisdom and fitness as an expedient, than to wisdom and fitness in close and inseparable connection with justice; and is defective in not pointing out what that connection between the death of Christ and that honouring of the law of God is which allows of the remission of punishment to offenders, of which they speak. Each embodies much truth, and yet both are capable of originating great and fatal errors, unless their terms be definitely and Scripturally understood.
To clear this subject some farther observations will, then, be necessary.
The term satisfaction is taken from the Roman law, and signifies to content a person aggrieved, by doing or by offering something which procures liberation from the obligation of debts or the penalties of offences; not ipso facto, but by the will of the aggrieved party admitting this substitution. "Ea dictio (satisfaciendi vocabulum) in jure et usu communi significat facti alicujus nut rei exhibitionem, ex qua non quidem ipso facto, sed accedente voluntatis actu liberatio sequatur; soletque non tantum in penuniaris debitis, sed et in delictis hoc sensu usur pari, quod linquae ex Romana depravatae appellant, aliquem content are." (Grotius De Satisfactione.) So time Roman lawyer Caius, "satisfitcere dicimur ci cujus desiderium implemus," we arc said to satisfy him whose desires we fulfil. Ulpian opposes satisfaction to payment, "satisfactio pro solutione;" and, in criminal cases, Asconius lays it down as a rule, "satisfacere, est tantum facere, quantum satis sit irato ad vindictam," to satisfy is to do as much as, to the party offended, may be enough in the way of vengeance. (Vide Chapman's Eusebius.) It is from this use of the term that it has been adopted into theology, and however its meaning may have been heightened or lowered by the advocates of different systems, it is plain that, by the term itself, nothing; is indicated, but the contentment of the injured party by any thing which he may choose to accept in the place of the enforcement of his obligation upon the party indebted or offending. The sense in which it must be applied to designate the nature and effect of time death of Christ, in consistency with the views we have already taken, is obvious. We call the death of Christ a satisfaction offered to Divine justice for the transgressions of men, with reference to its eject upon time mind of the' supreme Lawgiver. As a just Governor, he is satisfied, contented with the atonement offered by the vicarious death of his Son, and the conditions on which it is to become available to the offenders; and their punishment, those conditions being accomplished, is no longer exacted.
This effect upon the mind of the Lawgiver is not, as the Socinians would pervert the doctrine, the satisfaction of an angry, vengeful affection, as we have before shown; but, according to the very phrase employed in all cases, and which is sufficient to show that their perversion of our meaning is wilful, "a satisfaction," or "contentment" of his justice, which means, and can only rationally mean, the satisfaction of the mind of a just or righteous governor, disposed from the goodness of his nature, to show mercy to the guilty, and who can now do it consistently with the rectitude of his character, and the authority of his laws, which it is the office of punitive justice to proclaim, and to uphold. The satisfaction of Divine justice by time death of Christ, consists, therefore, in this, that this wise and gracious provision on the part of the Father having been voluntarily carried into effect by the Son, the just GOD has determined it to be as consistent with his own holy and righteous character, and the ends of law and government, to forgive all who have true "faith in the blood of Christ," the appointed propitiation for sin, as though they had all been personally punished for their transgressions.
The death of Christ, then, is the satisfaction accepted; and this being a satisfaction to justice, that is, a consideration which satisfied God, as a being essentially righteous, and as having strict and inflexible respect to the justice of his government; pardon through, or for the sake of that death, became, in consequence, "a declaration of the righteousness of God," as the only appointed method of remitting the punishment of the guilty; and if so, satisfaction respects not, in the first instance, according to the second opinion we have stated above, the honour of the law of God, but its authority, and the upholding of that righteous and holy character of the Lawgiver, and of his administration, of which that law is the visible and public expression. Nor is this to be regarded as a merely wise and fit expedient of government, a point to which even Grotius leans too much, as well as many other divines who have adopted the second opinion; for this may imply that it was one of many other possible expedients, though the best; whereas we have seen, that it is every where in Scripture represented as necessary to human salvation; and that it is to be concluded, that no alternative existed but that of exchanging a righteous government for one careless and relaxed, to the dishonour of the Divine attributes, and the sanctioning of moral disorder; or the upholding of such a government by the personal and extreme punishment of every offender; or else the acceptance of the Vicarious death of an infinitely dignified and glorious being, through whom pardon should be offered, and in whose hands a process for the moral restoration of the lapsed should be placed. The humiliation, Sufferings, and death of such a being, did most obviously demonstrate the righteous character and administration of God; and if time greatest means we can conceive was employed for this end, then we may safely Conclude, that time righteousness of God, in the forgiveness of sin, could not have been demonstrated by inferior means; and as God cannot cease to be a righteous Governor, man, in that case, could have had no hope.
The advocates of the second opinion not only speak of the honour of the Divine law being concerned in this transaction; but of the maintenance of the justice of God, in which they come substantially to an agreement with those who hold the first opinion; and if so, there appears no reason to except to such phrases as a "full equivalent" and "an adequate compensation," when soberly interpreted. An equivalent is something of equal value, or of equal force and power, to something else; but here the value spoken of is judicial value, that which is to weigh equal in the mind of a wise, benevolent, and yet strictly righteous Governor; and if the death of Christ for sinners was determined, in his infallible judgment, to be as equal a "demonstration" of his justice, as the personal and extreme punishment of offenders themselves, it was, in this judicial consideration of the matter, of equal weight, and therefore of equal value , as a means of righteous government; for which reason, also, it was of equal force, or power, or cogency, another leading sense of the term equivalent. So also, as to the term "compensation," which signifies the weighing of one thing against another, the making amend If this be interpreted as the former, judicially, the death of Christ for Sinners is an adequate compensation for their personal punishment, in the motion of Divine justice; because it is, at least, an equally powerful demonstration of the righteousness of God, who only in consideration of that atonement forgives the sins of offending men.
Just, however, and significant as these phrases are when thus interpreted, one reason why they have been objected to by some worth divines is, that they have been used in support of the Antinomian doctrine on this account they have been by some wholly rejected, and a loose and dangerous phraseology introduced, when the reason of the case only required that they should be explained. The Antinomian perversion of them may here be briefly refuted, though that doctrine will afterward come under our more direct consideration.
In the first place the Antinomians connect the satisfaction of Ch with the doctrine of the imputation of his active righteousness to believers. With them, therefore, the satisfaction of Christ means his performing for us that obedience which we were bound to perform. They consider our Lord as a proxy for men; so that his perfect obedience to the law should be esteemed by God, as done by them; as theirs in legal construction, and that his perfect righteousness being imputed to them, renders them legally righteous and sinless. The plain answer to this is, 1. That we have no such office ascribed in Scripture to the active righteousness of Christ, which is only spoken of there in connection with his atonement as rendering him a fit victim or sacrifice for sin-" he died, the just for the unjust." 2. That this doctrine of the imputation of Christ's obedience makes his sufferings superfluous. For if he has done all that the law required of us, and if this is legally accounted our doing, then are we under no penalty of suffering, and his suffering in our stead was more than the law and the case required. 3. That this involves a fiction opposed to the ends of moral government, and shuts out the obligation of personal obedience to the law of GOD; so far, therefore, is it from being a demonstration of God's righteousness, his rectoral justice, that it transfers the obligation of obedience from the subjects of the Divine government to Christ, and leaves man without law, and GOD without dominion, which is obviously contrary to the Scriptures, and favourable to license of every kind. 4. This is not satisfaction in any good sense; it is merely the performance of all that the law requires by one person substituted for another.
Again, the terms full satisfaction and full equivalent, are taken by the Antinomians in the sense of the payment of debts by a surety for him who has not the means of payment; as though sins were analogous to civil debts. This proceeds upon the mistake of confounding the cancel. hug of a debt of judicial obligation, with the payment of a debt of money. We leave already seen the difference between the relation of a sinner to his offended Judge and Sovereign, and that of a pecuniary debtor to a creditor, and have pointed out the basis of the metaphor, when it occurs as a figurative representation in Scripture. Such payment would not be satisfaction in the proper sense, which stands opposed to payment, and means the acceptance of something in the place of what is due, with which the Lawgiver is content. Nor can any such sense be forced upon the term satisfaction, for we have no such representation in Scripture of the death of Christ, as that it is, in principle, like the payment of so many talents or pounds by one person, for so than talents or pounds owing by another, and which thereby cancels all future obligation. His atoning act consisted in suffering, "the just for the unjust;" neither in doing just so many holy acts as we were bound to do, nor in suffering the precise quantum of pain which we deserved to suffer, neither of which appears in the nature of things to be even possible; but doing and suffering that which by reason of the peculiar glory and dignity of the person thus coming under the bond of the law, both as to obedience and suffering, was accounted by GOD to be a sufficient "demonstration of his righteousness," in showing mercy to all who truly believe in him. And as this notion of payment in full and kind by a surely is contrary to the import of satisfaction, so also is it inconsistent with the import of the phrase, a full equivalent. He who pays a civil debt in full for another, does not render an equivalent; but gives precisely what the original obligation required. So, if the obedience of Christ were equal in quantity and degree to all the acts of obedience due by men, and is to be accounted theirs, there is no equivalent offered; but the same thing is done, only it is done by another; and if the penal sufferings of Christ were in nature, quantity, and intenseness, equal to the punishment of all sinners, in time and eternity taken together, and are to be accounted their sufferings, no proper equivalent is offered in the case. The only true sense of the sufferings of Christ being a full equivalent for the remission of the punishment due to the guilty, is, that they equally availed to the satisfying of Divine justice, and vindicating the authority of his laws; that they were equivalent, in the estimation of a just Governor, in the administration of his laws, to the punishment of the guilty; equivalent in effect to a legal satisfaction, which would consist in the enforcement upon the persons of the offenders of the penalty of the violated commandment.
Another consequence to which the Antinomian view leads, is, that it makes the justification of men a matter of right, not of grace.
We can easily, when the doctrine of satisfaction is properly stated, answer the infidel and Socinian objection, that it destroys the free and gracious nature of an act of forgiveness For, not to urge again what has before been advanced, that the Father was the fountain of this mercy, and "gave" the Son; the satisfaction was quid recusabile, or such as God might have refused. For if the laws, under which God had placed us, were "holy, just, and good," which is their real character, and if the penalties attached to their violation were righteous, which must also be conceded, then it would have been righteous, every way consistent with the glory of God, and with every perfection of his nature, to have enforced the penalty. The satisfaction offered might not be unjust in him to accept, and yet he was clearly under no obligation to accept it could it have been offered independent of himself, much less could he be under any obligation to provide it, which he did. The offender could have no right to claim such a provision, and it depended, therefore, solely on the will of God, and as such was an act of the highest grace.
Again, the forgiveness of sinners, through an atonement, is not de jure, that which can be claimed as a matter of right. It is made to consist with law, but is not in any sense by the law. However valuable the atonement, yet, independent of the favour and grace of the Lawgiver, it could not have obtained our pardon. Both must concur in order to this, the kindness and compassion of the being offended inducing him to accept satisfaction, and such a satisfaction as would render it moral fit and honourable in him to offer forgiveness. "By grace," therefore, we "are saved;" and nothing that Christ has done, renders us not deserving of punishment, or cancels our obligations as creatures and subjects, as a surety cancels the obligations of a debtor, whose debt he pays for him. Forgiveness in God can, therefore, be no other than an act of high and distinguished mercy.
We are also to consider, even now that the atonement has been accepted, and the promise of forgiveness proclaimed, upon the condition of repentance and faith, that we claim forgiveness not on the ground of justice, but on that of the faithfulness of God, who has been pleased to bind himself by promises; and also that the mercy and grace of GOD are farther illustrated by his not proceeding to extremities against us upon our first refusals of his overtures, of which all are in some degree guilty. He exercises toward us, in all cases, "all long suffering," and calls us not hastily to account for our neglect of the Gospel, any more than for the infractions of his law, both which he might do, were his government severe and his mercy reluctant.
But abundantly as the objection may thus be answered, it is not to be satisfactorily refuted, on the Antinomian principle, that Christ paid our debt, in the sense of yielding to the law, in kind and in quantity, those acts of obedience, or that penalty of suffering, or both, which the law required. The matter in that case, on the part of the Father, loses its character of grace, and is reduced to a strictly equitable proceeding; or at least the mercy is of no higher a kind than is the mercy of a creditor who accepts the full amount of his debt from the surety instead of the debtor, which is assuredly much below that love of the Father, to which allusions so admiring and so grateful are often made in the New Testament. The consequences, also, become absurd and wholly contradictory to the scriptures; and such a view of the satisfaction of Christ is inconsistent with conditions of pardon and acceptance; for if the debt is in this sense actually tendered and accepted, on what ground can conditions of release stand? It is, therefore, consistent in the Antinomian scheme, to deny all conditions of pardon and acceptance, and to make repentance and faith merely the means through which men come to the knowledge of their previous and eternal election. By them, as fulfilled conditions, their relation to God is not changed, so that from guilty and condemned criminals they become sons of God. Such they were previous to faith, and previous even to birth, and thus the Scripture is contradicted, which represents believers before repentance and faith, to be "the children of wrath, even as others." That passage also in Galatians loses its meaning, "we have believed in Jesus Christ, THAT we might be justified by the faith of Christ."
With such explanations of the terms of the first of the two opinions on the satisfaction of Christ, above given, it may be taken as fully accordant with the doctrine of the New Testament on this important subject.
Another remark may here be in its proper place. It has been sometimes said by theologians, sufficiently sound in their general views of the doctrine of the atonement, that we know not the vinculum, or bond Of connection, between the sufferings of Christ, and the pardon of sin, and this, therefore, they place among the mysteries of religion. To me this appears rather to arise from obscure views of the atonement than from the absence of information on this point in the Scriptures themselves. Mysteries of love and incomprehensible facts are found, it is true, in the incarnation, humiliation, and sufferings of our Lord; but the vinculum, or connection of those sufferings appears to be matter of express revelation, when it is declared that the death of Christ was "a demonstration of-the righteousness of God," of his righteous character and his just administration, and therefore allowed the honourable exercise of mercy without impeachment of justice, or any repeal or relaxation of his laws. If it be meant, in this allegation of mystery, that it is not discoverable how the death of Christ is as adequate a display of the justice of God, as though offenders had been personally punished, this also is clearly in 1 opposition to what the apostle has said, in the passage which has been so often referred to, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness," ei~ endeixin dicaiosunh~ auth, for a demonstration, or MANIFESTATION of his righteousness; nor surely can the particulars before stated in explanation of this point, be well weighed, without our perceiving how gloriously the holiness and essential rectitude of God, as well as his rectoral justice, we illustrated by this proceeding; this, surely, is manifestation, not mystery.
For, generally speaking, it cannot be a matter of difficulty to Conceive how the authority of a law may be upheld, and the justice of its administration made manifest, even when its penalty is exacted in some other way than the punishment of the party offending. When the Locrian legislator voluntarily suffered the loss of one of his eyes, to save that of his son condemned by his own statutes to lose both, and did this that the law might neither be repealed nor exist without efficacy; who does not see that the authority of his laws was as much, nay more, impressively sanctioned than if his son had endured the full penalty? The case, it is true, has in it nothing parallel to the work of Christ, except in that particular which it is here adduced to illustrate but it shows that it is not, in all cases, necessary for the upholding of a firm government that the offender himself should be punished. This is the natural mode of maintaining authority; but not, in all cases, the o one; and, in that of the redemption of man, we see the wisdom of in its brightest manifestation securing this end, and yet opening to man the door of hope. The strict justice of the case required that the righteous character of the Divine administration should be upheld; but, in fact, by the sufferings of our Lord being made the only means of pardon, it has received a stamp more legible and impressive than the extreme punishment of offenders, however awful, while it connects love with justice, and presents God to us at once exact in righteousness and p affectingly gracious and merciful. "The Judge himself bore the punishment of transgression, while he published an amnesty to the guilty, and thus asserted the authority, and importance, and worth of the law by that very act which beamed forth love unspeakable, and displayed a compassion which knew no obstacle but the unwillingness of the criminals to accept it. The eternal Word became flesh, and exhibited, in sufferings and in death, that combination of holiness and mercy which, believed, must excite love, and, if loved, must Produce resemblance." (Erskine on Revealed Religion.) "Mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other." Thus the vinculum, that which connects the death of Christ with our salvation, is simply the security which it gives to the righteous administration of the Divine government.
An objection is made by the opponents of the doctrine of atonement to the justice of laying the punishment of the guilty upon the innocent, which it will be necessary briefly to consider. The objection resolves itself into an inquiry how far such benevolent interpositions of one person for another, as involve sacrifice and suffering, may go without violating justice; and when the subject is followed in this direction, the objection will be found to be of no weight.
That it has always been held a virtue to endure inconveniences, to encounter danger, and even to suffer for the sake of others, in certain circumstances, cannot be denied, and no one has ever thought of controlling such acts by raising any questions as to their justice. Parents and friends not only condone labour and make sacrifices for their children and connections, but often submit to positive pain in accomplishing that to which their affection prompts them. To save a fellow creature perishing by water or fire, generous minds often expose themselves to great personal risk of life, and even sometimes perish in the attempt; yet the claims of humanity are considered sufficient to justify such deeds, which arc never blamed, but always applauded. No man's life we grant, is at his own disposal; but in all cases where it is agreed that God, the only being who has a right to dispose of life, has left men at liberty to offer their lives for the benefit of others, no one questions the justice of their doing it. Thus, when a patriot army marches to almost certain destruction to defend its coasts from foreign invasion and violence, the established notion that the life of every man is placed by God at the disposal of his country, justifies the hazard. It is still a clearer instance, because matter of revelation, that there are cases in which we ought "to lay down our lives for the brethren," that is for the Church and the intercepts of religion in the world. Christians are called to Pursue their duty of instructing, and reforming, and saving others, though, in some cases, the active services into which they may be led will shorten life; and in times of persecution it is obligatory upon them not only to be ready to suffer, but to die, rather than deny Christ. No one questions tine justice of this, because all see that the Author and Lord of the lives of men has given to them the right of thus disposing of life, nor do we ever hear it urged, that it was unjust in him to require them to submit to the pain of racks and fires, and other modes of violent death, which they certainly did not deserve, and when, as to any crime meriting public and ignominious death, they were, doubtless, innocent. These cases are not adduced as parallel to the death of Christ for sinners; but so far they agree with it that, in the ordinary course of providence, and by express appointment of God, men suffer and even die for the benefit of others, and in some cases the morally worthy, the comparatively innocent, die for the instruction, and, instrumentally, for the salvation of the unworthy and vicious. There is a similarity in the two cases also in other particulars, as that the suffering danger or death is in both matter of choice, not of compulsion or necessity; and that there is a right in the parties to choose suffering and death, though as we shall see, this right in benevolent men is of a different kind to that with which Christ was invested.
Some writers of great eminence on time doctrine of atonement have urged also, in answer to the objection before us, the suffering of persons in consequence of the sins of others, as children on account of the crimes of their parents, both by the natural constitution of things and by the laws of many states; but the subject does not appear to derive any real illustration from these examples; for, as a modern writer well observes, "the principles upon which the Catholic opinion is defended destroy every kind of similarity between these cases and the sufferings of Christ. in all such instances of the extension of punishment, persons suffer for sins of which they are innocent, but without their consent, in consequence of a constitution under which they are born, and by a disposition of events which they probably lament; and their suffering is not supposed to have any effect in alleviating the evils incurred by those whose punishment they bear." (Hill's Lectures.)
In all the cases mentioned above, as most in point in this argument, we grant that there is no instance of satisfaction by vicarious punishment; no legal substitution of one person for another. With respect to human governments, they could not justly adopt this principle in any case. They could not oblige an innocent person to suffer for the guilty, because that would be unjust to him; they could not accept his off, were he ever so anxious to become the substitute of another, for that would be unjust to God, since they have no authority from him so to take away the life of one of his creatures, and the person himself has no authority to offer it. With respect to the Divine government, a parallel case is also impossible, because no guilty man could be the substitute for his fellows, his own life being forfeited; and no higher creature could be that substitute, of which we are fully assured by this, that if it was necessary that Christ, who is infinitely above all creatures, should suffer for us. in order that God might be just in justifying the guilty, then his justice could not have been manifested by the interposition of any creature whatever in our behalf, and, therefore, the legal obstacle to our pardon must have remained in full force. There can be no full parallel to this singular and only case; but yet, as to the question of justice, which is here the only point under consideration, it rests on the same principles as those before mentioned. In the case of St. Paul we see a willing sufferer; he chooses to suffer and to die "for the elect's sake," and that he might publish the Gospel to the world. He knew that this would be his lot, and he glories in the prospect. He gave up cheerfully what might have remained to him of life by the constitution of nature. Was it, then, unjust in God to accept this offering of generous devotedness for the good of mankind, when the offering was in obedience to his own will? Certainly not. Was it an unjust act toward God, that is, did it violate the right of God over his life, for St. Paul to choose to die for the Gospel? Certainly not. For God had given to him the right of thus disposing of his life, by making it his duty to die for the truth. The same considerations of choice and right unite in the sufferings of our Lord, though the case itself was one of an infinitely higher nature, a circumstance which strengthens but does not change the principle. He was a willing substitute, and choice was in him abundantly more free and unbiassed than it could be in a creature, and for this reason, that he was not a creature. His incarnation was voluntary; and, when incarnate, his sufferings were still a matter of choice; nor was he, in the same sense as his disciples, under the power of men. "No man taketh my life from me; but I lay it down of myself." He had the right of doing so in a sense that no creature could have. He died not only because the Father willed it; not because the right of living or dying had been conceded to him as a moral trust, as in the case of the apostles; but because, having himself the supreme power of life and death, from his boundless benevolence to man, he willed to die; and thus was there, in this substitution, a concurrence of the Lawgiver, and the consent of the substitute. To say that any thing is Unjust, is to say that the rights of some one are invaded; but if, in this case, no right was invaded, than which nothing can be more clear, then Was there in the case nothing of injustice as assumed in the objection. The whole resolves itself, therefore, into a question not of justice, but of the wisdom of admitting a substitute to take the place of time guilty. In the circumstances, first of the willingness of the substitute to submit to the penalty, arid secondly of his right thus to dispose of himself, the justice of the proceeding is fully cleared; and the question of wisdom is to be determined by this consideration, whether the end of Punishment could be as well answered by this translation of the Penalty to a substitute as if the principals themselves had personally been held to undergo it. This, when the whole evangelical scheme is taken into account, embracing the means and conditions by which that substitution is made available, and the concomitants by which it is attended, as before explained, is also obvious-the law of God is not repealed nor relaxed, but established; those who continue disobedient fall into aggravated condemnation, and those who avail themselves of the mercy of God thus conceded, are restored to the capacity and disposition of obedience, and that perfectly and eternally in a future state of existence; so that, as the end of punishment is the maintenance of the authority of law and the character of the Lawgiver, this end is even more abundantly accomplished by this glorious interposition of the compassion and adorable wisdom of GOD our Saviour.
So unfounded is this objection to the doctrine of the vicarious sufferings of' Christ; to which we may add, that the difficulty of reconciling those sufferings to the Divine justice does not, in truth, lie with us, but with the Socinians. Different opinions, as to the nature and end of those sufferings, neither lessen nor heighten them. The extreme and emphatic sufferings of our Lord is a fact which stands unalterably upon the record of the inspired history. We who regard Christ as suffering by virtue of a voluntary substitution of himself in our room and stead, can account for such agonies, and, by the foregoing arguments, c reconcile them to justice; but, as our Lord was perfectly and absolute innocent, as "he did no sin," and was, in this respect, distinguished front all men who ever lived, and who have all sinned, by being entirely "holy and harmless," "separated from sinners," how will they reconcile it to Divine justice that he should be thus as pre-eminent in suffering as he was in virtue, and when, according to them, he sustained a personal character only, and not a vicarious one? For this difficult they have, and can have no rational solution.
As to the passage in Ezekiel xviii, 20, which Socinians sometimes argue against the doctrine of Christ's vicarious passion, it is briefly but satisfactorily answered by Grotius. "Socinus objects from Ezekial 'The soul that sinneth it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall flee father bear the iniquity of the son.' But in these words God does not teach us what he must necessarily do; hut what [in a particular case] he had freely decreed to do. It no more therefore, follows from hence, that it is unjust altogether for a son t9 hear any part of the punishment of his father's crime, than that it is unjust for a sinner not to die. The place itself evinces that God does not here treat of perpetual and immutable right; but of that ordinary course of his providence which he was determined hereafter to pursue with respect to the Jews, that he might cut off all occasion of complaint." (Be satisfaction.)
 The writers of the New Testament, say some, derive this mode of expression from the force of the Hebrew word transferred to the Greek word; but Palairet, Grotius, and Schleusner, give instances of the use of the term, in the same signification, in writers purely Greek.
 "Nam Mosis cum Christo instituta coillatio, responsione vix indiget, c m omnis similitudo certos habeat terminos, quos extra protendi nequeat. Compa-. rantur illi, qua liberatores, non ob liberandi modurn. Neque magis ex so sequitur, Christum satisfaciendo nos non liberasse, quia Moses id non fecerit, quàm Christum nor liberasse per hominum mortem, quia id fecerit Moses. Quod si ad modum quoque liberandi comparatio pertineret, ea ut rectius procederet, dicen um esset, Christum nos liberasse miraculis, (Ut Moses,) non autem sua morte suoque sanguine, quod Moth nec adscribitur, nec adscribi potest. Sed praecipium est, quod vox Xvrpov, de cujus vi hic agimus, liberationi per Mosen partae nusquam additur. Quid quod ne est Socini quidem sententia modus liberandi idem est? Nam Moses, Josue, et alii liberarunt, non aliquid faciendo circa liberandos, (quod Christo Socinus tribuit) sod amovendo eos qui libertati obstabant, hostes scili cet." (Grotius, De Satisfactione, cap. viii.)
 See Nare's Remarks on the New Version, Magee on the Atonement, Whit by and Doddridge in hoc. Righteousness is indeed sometimes used for veracity but only when some principle of equity, or some obligation arising from engagement, promise, or threat, is implied.
 "Quod autem Socinus argumentatur, quia divinitas ipsa non patiatur, ideo hanc in paenae considerationem non venire perindo est ac am dicas, nihil referre privatum an Regem, item ignotum, an patrem verberes, quia verbera in Corpus dirigantur, non in dignitatum, aut cognationem-" (De Satisfactions.)